APWA Submits Comments on “Waters of the United States” Rule

On April 15, the American Public Works Association (APWA) submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) regarding the revised definition of the “Waters of the United States” (84 FR 4154, February 14, 2019). According to the agencies, the proposed rule “is intended to increase Clean Water Act (CWA) program predictability and consistency by increasing clarity as to the scope of ‘waters of the United States’ federally regulated under the Act”. This proposed definition revision is also intended to clearly implement the overall objective of the CWA to restore and maintain the quality of the nation's waters while respecting State and tribal authority over their own land and water resources.
APWA’s comments show appreciation for the clarity the revised definition provides in terms of ditches and municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4’s), however, APWA has serious concerns regarding the revised definition and assumptions made in the proposed rule. In three key areas, the new proposed rule could do serious harm to public works professionals and programs: 1) Continued permitting uncertainty under the new proposed rule; 2) Assumptions regarding cooperative federalism; and 3) Additional costs for water providers and water customers.
You can read APWA’s comments here, and view the Federal Register post at their website.