California proposes to set drinking water goal at 0.06 ppb for Hex Chrome

There is no question that Hexavalent Chromium is a known human carcinogen when inhaled. However, there has been much controversy over whether it is a carcinogen when ingested. Now, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) of Cal-EPA has proposed a Public Health Goal (PHG) of 0.06...

NRDC raises concerns about MCL for atrazine because of alleged undetected spikes in concentration in drinking water

Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, municipal water supplies are typically tested for chemicals, including atrazine, four times a year; atrazine acts to prevent the emergence of weed seeds. The EPA considers an annual average atrazine level below 3 parts per billion as safe for human consumption. But...

Plaintiffs could maintain suit under CWA citizen suit provision based on failure of EPA to exercise oversight duties imposed on EPA to review permits granted by Army Corps, rules S.C. District Court

Plaintiffs challenged a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) in connection with the construction of a marine container terminal and associated highway. Plaintiffs asserted that less damaging alternatives should have been considered, and that the project posed a threat to the...

Standing requires a direct relationship between the alleged agency action and the injury suffered, rules California District Court

The Clean Water Act's Section 303(d) requires each State biennially to develop a list of environmentally impaired water bodies and to submit the list to the EPA for approval or disapproval. In 1992, California recommended, and the EPA approved, the Section 303(d) designation of Redwood Creek as impaired...

California State Water Resources Control Board issues another draft of its revised enforcement policy, a provision of which guts appeals of penalties imposed by Regional Boards

Prior posts have noted that the California SWRCB is revising its enforcement policy, and the controversy that has surrounded some of the provisions. In its most recent draft, however, only one major change has been made to the previous language. Under the earlier draft, one of the methods for calculating...

Gulf of Mexico dead zone is smaller, but thicker, NOAA reports

Prior posts have noted the size and causes of the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone, and the target for reducing the zone set for 2015. A July 27 report by NOAA notes that the Gulf of Mexico dead zone has changed its shape. Over the past decade the dead zone has averaged 6 thousand square miles in size, and...

Claims that the Army Corps acted improperly in issuing a NWP 18 permit to fill wetlands were deemed moot since the Regional Condition that formed the basis for the complaint was revoked in the interim, holds 11th Circuit

In January 2006, Gearon and Fisher applied to the Army Corps for authorization to fill existing wetlands on their respective Sea Island properties. The applications specifically stated that the proposed project site was not located in tidal waters. The Corps conducted a desktop review of the applications...

EPA reevaluating prior perchlorate decision

Prior posts have noted the decision by the Bush Administration to not regulate perchlorate, EPA's decision in January to reconsider that decision by the Bush EPA, and the EPA Inspector General's report criticizing the Bush EPA's risk assessment of perchlorate. EPA has now announced that is...

Pesticides may be harming Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, notes recent report

Agricultural runoff is responsible for most of the pesticide load in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, claims a new report by the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Project, a consortium of scientists from State and Federal agencies, academia, and Bay advocacy groups. The report notes that the degradation byproducts...

The Clean Water Act is neglected, at a cost in suffering, notes an investigative article in today's New York Times

As noted in today’s New York Times: “Almost four decades ago, Congress passed the Clean Water Act to force polluters to disclose the toxins they dump into waterways and to give regulators the power to fine or jail offenders. States have passed pollution statutes of their own. But in recent...

Ninth Circuit notes inconsistent rulings by other Circuits in awarding attorney's fees in CWA cases, and holds that they can only be rarely denied to a prevailing party

In a prior post (5/29/08) regarding St. John's Organic Farm v. Gem County Mosquito Abatement Dist. , 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63224 (D.ID: 2007), it was noted that the District Court held that, because of the unique wording of the CWA attorney’s fees provision, the CWA did not recognize the catalyst...

Showerheads may pose a risk for those with compromised immune systems by harboring and aerosolization of bacterial biofilms

As noted in many prior posts, the world is full of microorganisms to which we humans are exposed constantly, and there is still a significant scientific debate regarding whether we need such exposures to prime the immune system and to keep it from getting out of control (e.g., overreacting and causing...

Excreted Tamiflu found in rivers, giving rise to concern about development of resistant strains of seasonal and avian flu

Japanese researchers have found oseltamivir phosphate (“OC”), aka Tamiflu, downriver from sewage-treatment facilities. The source, like that for other drugs that have been found in river and estuarial systems (as noted in prior posts) is urinary excretion by people. The primary concern, of...

California State Water Resources Control Board adopts new construction storm water permit, but makes a few changes

Prior posts have noted in detail the proposed new California construction stormwater permit. At its September hearing, the SWRCB adopted the permit, but made a few changes: * The permit will not become effective until 7/1/10 (rather than 100 days after adoption). * Dischargers will not have to...

California's DTSC outlines protocols for testing lead content in plumbing materials

For many years, Proposition 65 plaintiffs and the California Attorney General filed a lot of cases against manufacturers of plumbing fixtures because (a) the lead contained in various components leached into the water passing through, and (b) as noted in prior posts, the lead standard under Prop. 65...

Cattle feed can contribute to increased rural ozone levels

As noted in prior posts, livestock operations are often associated with polluting streams and groundwater. Manure lagoons not only are associated with odor, but because of the nitrogen and phosphorus produced are associated with dead zones in streams and estuarial habitats. Additionally, prior posts...

Lead exposure appears to increase when lead lines are partially replaced

As noted in prior posts, some urban water systems installed lead pipes many years ago, particularly on the distribution lines from mains into homes. Partial replacement of lead service lines has been promoted as one solution to the problem of lead-contaminated drinking water. However, recent data suggest...

Jenner & Block: Managing Water Risks: Carbon Disclosure Project's Water Disclosure

By E. Lynn Grayson, Partner, Jenner & Block In this Analysis, E. Lynn Grayson discusses the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and examines its first water-related information request. She writes: The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) has issued its first water-related information request to 302 of...

Ninth Circuit rules that owners of storm water systems (e.g., cities, counties, districts) are liable for discharges of polluted stormwater into rivers and ocean

It is well known that stormwater gathers a variety of pollutants as it flows across the landscape and even through stormwater drainage systems. See, for example, http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/home.cfm?program_id=6 and http://www.epa.gov/owow_keep/NPS/index.html . In NRDC v. County of Los Angeles, Ninth...

Pharmaceuticals, Drinking Water, and Liability

By Dianne Saxe, Ontario Environmental Lawyer The better our detection ability becomes, the more things we find in the water. One important group of those things is pharmaceuticals and their metabolites. Pharmaceuticals are specifically designed to affect the bodies, brains and behaviour of humans...

New USGS Report Finds Wells Contaminated

By E. Lynn Grayson, Partner, Jenner & Block According to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey, Trace Elements and Radon in Groundwater Across the United States, 1992-2003 , about 20% of untreated water samples from public, private and monitoring wells contain concentrations of at least one...

EPA Announces Schedule to Develop Natural Gas Wastewater Standards

Announcement is part of administration's priority to ensure natural gas development continues safely and responsibly WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing a schedule to develop standards for wastewater discharges produced by natural gas extraction from underground...

Jenner & Block: New Water Scarcity Mapping Tool

By E. Lynn Grayson, Partner, Jenner & Block The World Resources Institute recently released its Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas (Atlas) to help companies identify water-related risks. The Atlas is a tool that provides geographical and sector-specific water risk context for companies. The Atlas is intended...

Jenner & Block: You Are Drinking What? Reuse Of Municipal Wastewater

By E. Lynn Grayson, Partner, Jenner & Block The Wall Street Journal has reported that about 60% of the U.S. is now living through drought conditions and half of all counties have been declared disaster areas. Drastic situations call for drastic measures BUT drinking our own wastewater? The...

Jenner & Block: USGS Releases Water and Sediment Priority Constituents Monitoring Report

By E. Lynn Grayson , Partner, Jenner & Block The USGS has released a new report, Prioritization of Constituents for National and Regional Scale Ambient Monitoring of Water and Sediment in the United States , that addresses the methodology used to prioritize constituents to be assessed. This effort...