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Category Archives: Water Quality


EPA’s New Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification Rule Limits Tribal Water Permit Power

On June 1, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) finalized a new rule implementing the Clean Water Act’s (“CWA”) Section 401. Under Section 401, no federal permit or license can be issued that may result in a discharge to waters of the United States unless the authorized tribe or state certifies that the discharge is … Continue Reading »


Striking Middle Ground(water), the Supreme Court Holds That Some Discharges to Groundwater Require Clean Water Act Permits

The U.S. Supreme Court issued on April 23, 2020 a significant and controversial Clean Water Act (“CWA”) decision in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund et al.  As summarized previously, the issue presented was whether the County of Maui (“County”) requires a CWA discharge permit to dispose of wastewater through groundwater discharge wells where … Continue Reading »

Public Review Period: Ag Order 4.0 and Draft EIR

UPDATE: In light of COVID-19, the comment period for Ag Order 4.0 has been extended until June 20, 2020. WHAT The public review period is currently open for California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Central Coast Region’s (Central Coast Water Board) Draft Agricultural Order for Discharges to Irrigated Lands (Ag Order 4.0) and accompanying Draft … Continue Reading »


Industrial Facilities May Be Denied Business Permits Without Proof of Storm Water Coverage

California regulates storm water discharges from industrial facilities under the federal Clean Water Act through its Industrial General Storm Water Permit (IGP). A facility obtains coverage by filing notice of its intent to comply with the IGP with the State Water Resources Control Board (“State Board”). The IGP identifies which industrial facilities need to comply … Continue Reading »


New State Water Board Policy Has Potential to Streamline Water Quality Compliance for Wineries

In a welcome development for wineries, the State Water Resources Control Board has circulated an administrative draft of a general order (“General Order”) aimed at streamlining the often daunting challenge of complying with California’s water quality requirements. Currently, process water that results from a winery’s production and sanitation activities is considered “waste” under the Water … Continue Reading »


Women are Leaders in California’s Water Industry

This article was originally published in the Nov. 9 issue of Pacific Coast Business Times. On Nov. 1-2, we convened the second California H2O Women Conference — a meeting of 150 of California’s top women in the water industry at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara. The women-only conference brought together leading professionals representing all sectors of the … Continue Reading »


Anticipating Top Water Leaders at the 2018 California H2O Women Conference

We are a few weeks away from the 2018 California H2O Women Conference and honored to be showcasing so many leading women professionals, their work and their contributions to advance the water industry. We are also especially honored that Brenda Burman, the first woman to head the Bureau of Reclamation, is our keynote speaker. Commissioner … Continue Reading »


EPA Seeks Comments After Controversial Ninth Circuit Decision

In response to the Ninth Circuit’s recent opinion in Hawai’i Wildlife Fund v. County of Maui, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) is now seeking public comments on the proper scope of its authority under the Clean Water Act (“CWA”). In brief, the Ninth Circuit held that discharges of pollutants from a point source to … Continue Reading »


Ninth Circuit Holds Wastewater Discharge to Groundwater Requires Clean Water Act Permit in Hawai’i Wildlife Fund v. County of Maui

On Feb. 1, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a highly anticipated decision in Hawai’i Wildlife Fund v. County of Maui, No. 15-17447 (9th Cir. Feb. 1, 2018). At issue was whether the County of Maui (“County”) required a Clean Water Act (“CWA”) permit to dispose of wastewater through groundwater … Continue Reading »


Two Questions Every Industrial Storm Water Permittee Should Answer Before January 1, 2018

Author: Ryan Waterman Author: Dylan Johnson This article was originally distributed as a Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck Client Alert. If your facility is permitted under California’s Industrial General Storm Water Permit (IGP), then you probably feel like you earned an advanced degree in storm water management with the time and effort it takes to understand … Continue Reading »