Stormwater Wetland with a Pump Station

Water of the United States

Orange County Groundwater Replenishment System - Collection Pump Station

A controversial new rule was supposed to go into effect this week, allowing the EPA to have direct jurisdiction over more waterways across America. The rule is called the Waters of the United States rule, and Monday it was halted through a District Court injunction in North Dakota. Currently, 13 states are included in the injunction, but the District Court is filing briefs to consider whether the new rule can be delayed nationally. The EPA says it will enforce the rule later this week in the remaining 37 states.

For the past year, the proposed new federal rule has been hotly debated as being too broad to be practical. The rule expands the Clean Water Act to regulate millions of miles of new streams and tens of millions of acres of wetlands that flow into drinking water reservoirs.

Romtec Utilities Stormwater Pump Station

Many farmers, developers, small business groups, and oil/ gas companies are concerned that the new rule will leave them open for lawsuits without a clear definition as to which specific waterways are covered under the rule. The precise definition of these waterways could take years of impact studies, delaying projects for these businesses. For businesses that choose to move forward, lawsuits could follow for violating the Clean Water Act.

More and more, Romtec Utilities is seeing increased regulation at every level to protect waterways from runoff. This includes federal regulation, state regulation, and even regulation at the jurisdictional level. The reality is that many of the regulations of today were implemented in 1987 with a series of amendments to the Clean Water Act that include stormwater. These include MS4s (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems), industrial or processing runoff, and exterior materials storage. Only in the past several years, however, has the EPA truly started widespread enforcement of its permits.

Stormwater Wetland with a Pump Station

Even though the Water of the United States rule is being delayed for the time being, history would indicate that it is only a matter of time before this new regulation finds teeth. Companies big and small can benefit from this knowledge by addressing their stormwater concerns today. Romtec Utilities has worked on a large number of stormwater projects where the system owner was not mandated to construct runoff containment. For those companies, today’s District Court ruling has no significant impact. Their facilities are ready for the future of regulated stormwater runoff and discharge.

Although not every company has the means to address the stormwater at its site currently. Stormwater needs to make it into the near-future planning for many companies. Romtec Utilities can help with stormwater pumping projects and find creative ways to handle stormwater to meet regulations.

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