NGWA and the Water Systems Council, organizations committed to supporting groundwater and its professionals, joined forces to urge the Supreme Court to reverse the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the case of Maui County v. Hawai’i Wildlife Fund. The Ninth Circuit ruled that Maui County’s municipal wastewater facility violated the Clean Water Act (CWA) by injecting treated wastewater into the groundwater, some of which entered the Pacific Ocean.
The Supreme Court is expected to hear the county’s appeal this fall, and NGWA and the WSC filed an amicus brief in the case. The organizations argued the CWA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program is not the appropriate mechanism for regulating groundwater. Instead, the range of regulations covering groundwater at the state and federal level is sufficient to protect groundwater resources and fulfills the intent of the CWA.
Ensuring groundwater remains a safe and reliable drinking water source for millions of Americans remains the utmost priority of NGWA and WSC, and achievement of this requires a partnership between regulators at the state and federal levels. Applying the NPDES program to groundwater discharges would disrupt this balance.