Category Archives: Water Quality/Water Supply

California Expands Oil Spill Prevention Regulation Inland: Releases Emergency Regs for OSRO Ratings

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On Friday, July 10, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) released updated emergency Oil Spill Response Organization (ORSO) Rating regulations as part of OSPR’s expanded authority under SB 861. SB 861, passed through the California legislature in June of last year, extends oil spill protections previously available only to California’s coastal and marine waters to all inland waters of the state.  The bill was passed in direct response to rising shipments of crude oil and petroleum products across state lands.  Among other changes, [...]Read more

California State Water Board Workshop on Changes to Industrial Stormwater General Permit

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The California State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”) held a workshop today to discuss significant changes to the General Permit for stormwater associated with industrial activity. The new General Permit, as discussed in an April 2, 2014 Alston & Bird LLP post, takes effect July 1, 2015. Notable changes in General Permit requirements are listed in the State Water Board’s Summary of Significant Changes. Among other prominent changes, the new General Permit makes it mandatory for dischargers to submit and certify all reports electronically on the SMARTS system, requires [...]Read more

California State Water Board Approves New Industrial Stormwater Permit

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On April 1, 2014,after more than a decade of analysis and debate, the California State Water Resources Control Board approved a new statewide industrial stormwater permit increasing and changing the requirements of industrial facilities to control storm water discharges from their sites. The Industrial General Permit (IGP), which is a statewide general National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, regulates the discharge of storm water associated with industrial activity under requirements of the U.S. EPA. The IGP will regulate stormwater at sites such as manufacturing facilities, [...]Read more

Chemical Safety and Drinking Water Protection Act Introduced

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Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced the Chemical Safety and Drinking Water Protection Act. The legislation implements tools that help provide oversight of chemical facilities. It strengthens state’s ability to prevent chemical spills that contaminate water supplies by establishing programs under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The legislation is based on four key principles: Requiring regular state inspections of above-ground chemical storage facilities, Requiring industry to develop state-approved emergency response plans that meet at least [...]Read more

Peer Reviewed Study Supports Safety of Hydraulic Fracturing

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The July 2013 edition of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine includes a study that the authors note “offers comfort concerning health effects of (hydraulic fracturing) on childhood cancers.” In the article, titled Childhood Cancer Incidence in Pennsylvania Counties in Relation to Counties with Hydraulic Fracturing Sites, the four authors compared cancer incidence in children in Pennsylvania counties before and after hydraulic fracturing began, using standardized incidence ratios and 95% confidence intervals. The authors concluded that their “research does not support a [...]Read more

Federal Government Stepping Up Criminal Enforcement Actions Against Oil and Gas Drilling Companies

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In the last few months, the federal government has ramped up criminal enforcement actions against oil and gas drilling companies for violations of the Clean Water Act, and other environmental statutes. Alleged violations occurred in Ohio, Louisiana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia. The most recent case was filed about two weeks ago in Ohio, where the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) charged Ben Lupo with criminal violations of the Clean Water Act for allegedly illegal disposal of hydraulic fracturing waste. Lupo is charged with one count of violating the Clean Water Act, and [...]Read more

U.S. Supreme Court Holds Flow from One Part to Another of Same Waterway is Not a Discharge under the CWA

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In a 9-0 decision in favor of the Los Angeles County Flood Control District (the District), the U.S. Supreme Court reversed an opinion from the 9th Circuit yesterday, holding water flowing from an improved segment of a navigable waterway into an unimproved segment of the same waterway does not constitute a “discharge of a pollutant” under the Clean Water Act. The District operates a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4), which requires a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit under the Clean Water Act (CWA) before any storm water discharges into navigable [...]Read more