[Excerpt from Memo of Amanda Kellar, Deputy General Counsel, International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA)]
Under the Clean Water Act (the “Act”), a special permit is required if any pollutants are added from a “point source” to “navigable waters.” 33 U.S.C. § 1362(12). The issue in this case was whether the Act “requires a permit when pollutants originate from a point source but are conveyed to navigable waters by a nonpoint source,” here, groundwater. In a compromise 6-3 opinion authored by Justice Breyer, the Supreme Court concluded that the Act requires a permit when “the addition of the pollutants through groundwater is the functional equivalent of a direct discharge from the point source into navigable waters.” (emphasis added).
Click here to read Amanda’s full case summary, including a link to the full text of the Supreme Court’s decision. Also, read an excellent article authored by our own Olympia Bowker, of McGregor & Associates. Click here for the full text of Olympia’s article on the Clean Water Act and the Maui v. Hawaii SCOTUS decision.