The National Ground Water Association responded on May 21 to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s request for comment on the “Clean Water Act Coverage of ‘Discharges of Pollutants’ via a Direct Hydrologic Connection to Surface Water.”
The request for comment asked for feedback on the EPA’s previous statements on the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), following multiple court cases with differing opinions.
Nearly 60,000 comments at press time had been submitted to the EPA on this issue, demonstrating the need for the EPA to provide clarity. NGWA’s comments centered on the importance of groundwater protection and the role states play in regulating groundwater quality. Because of the variability across the states in the use and value of groundwater resources, states are best equipped to regulate groundwater quality, empowering those with expertise in local environmental conditions.
In addition, NGWA pointed out no definition of “direct hydrologic connection” exists in previous EPA statements on the issue or in the Clean Water Act and provided a definition for its consideration.
Rather than asking for a rulemaking or revision of all previous statements, NGWA asked EPA to issue clarifying memoranda.
NGWA worked with a group of volunteers to prepare the comments, which can be read in their entirety here.