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A regional water board is not required to estimate the compliance costs for individual permittees before issuing a permit. City of Duarte v. State Water Resources Control Board, 60 Cal. App. 5th 258 (2021).

The case involved the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit issued to 86 municipal entities in Los Angeles County that

On January 26, 2021, attorneys from Perkins Coie presented the 31st Annual Land Use and Development Law Briefing. Topics included:

    • Key Developments in Land Use Law
    • Legislative Changes Affecting Housing Development
    • CEQA: Key Cases and Trends
    • COVID 19 — Real Estate Impacts
    • Wetlands, Endangered Species and NEPA Update

A full set of the written materials,

A California Court of Appeal invalidated a wastewater discharge permit issued by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board that the court found impermissibly delegated to the Board’s executive officer the authority to modify effluent limits under the permit. Malaga County Water Dist. v. Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, 58 Cal.App.5th 396 (2020).

The federal Clean Water Act and California Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act authorize the State Water Resources Control Board, acting through its Regional Boards, to issue permits for point source discharges of pollutants into waters of the state.   Pursuant to that authority, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board originally issued a wastewater discharge permit to the Malaga County Water District authorizing it to discharge up to 0.85 million gallons per day (mgd) of undisinfected secondary treated wastewater from its wastewater treatment facility to onsite discharge ponds. When the discharge permit came up for renewal, Regional Board staff became concerned that Malaga’s discharge ponds lacked the capacity to store 0.85 mgd, and accordingly approved a modified permit subject to a new total effluent limitation of 0.49 mgd. Unusually, the revised permit further provided that the Regional Board’s Executive Officer could approve a “higher flow, up to 0.85 mgd,” if requested by the discharger and supported by its submission of “supporting calculations and documentation” demonstrating sufficient disposal capacity on an average monthly basis.

Malaga challenged the discharge permit as an unlawful delegation of the Regional Board’s permitting authority under the Water Code, which expressly prohibits a Regional Board from delegating to its Executive Officer any powers and duties relating to the “issuance, modification, or revocation” of a discharge permit.  Despite finding the dispute to be moot (because the permit at issue had expired and a new permit had been issued), the Court of Appeal determined that the controversy implicated an issue of “great public concern capable of repetition yet evading review,” and thus adjudicated the legality of the effluent verification process described in Malaga’s discharge permit.
Continue Reading Regional Water Quality Control Board Unlawfully Delegated Authority to Modify Effluent Limits Under Discharge Permit

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers have jointly issued new regulations to redefine what types of water bodies are covered by the Clean Water Act. Dubbed the “Navigable Waters Protection Rule,” the new regulations are the culmination of the Trump administration’s efforts to undo the broad interpretation of federal jurisdiction

A decision by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia issued on August 21, 2019, highlights the continuing confusion over the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. The decision declared the Obama administration’s 2015 “Clean Water Rule” to be an impermissible construction of the statutory language

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a lengthy proposed rule clarifying the substantive and procedural requirements for water quality certifications under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced that the changes are “intended to increase the predictability and timeliness of Section 401 certification by clarifying timeframes for certification, the scope