U.S. Supreme Court Rules that the Clean Water Act Regulates Groundwater

In a 6-3 opinion issued Thursday, April 23, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal Clean Water Act regulates activities releasing pollutants that are eventually conveyed through groundwater to navigable water.

Rejecting the Trump administration’s views, the majority ruled in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund et al. that a permit is required when there is a direct discharge from a point source into navigable waters, or when there is the “functional equivalent of a direct discharge.”

According to the OMA’s legal counsel, Bricker & Eckler, the Supreme Court’s decision is likely to have far reaching implications for permitting and enforcement pursuant to the Clean Water Act. 4/23/2020