On Sept. 12, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers  the 2015 , defining “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS).

The final rule will be effective 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. This repeal will remove the complex definition of WOTUS and restore state authority over water resources; however, uncertainty still remains regarding the impact of this repeal.

In addition to this significant change from EPA regarding water, I’d like to highlight a few articles from Brown and Caldwell’s BLR source regarding chemical storage, waste manifests and water quality standards:

Remain compliant with the EPA’s General Duty Clause

During the last six months, EPA has levied hefty fines to facilities that violate the General Duty Clause of its , even if those facilities do not have chemicals above RMP thresholds onsite.

No quantity thresholds are outlined in the General Duty Clause, but to avoid these fines, facilities that produce, process, handle, or store any extremely hazardous substance, regardless of the quantity of substance managed at the facility, should use hazard assessment techniques to identify hazards resulting from accidental releases, design and maintain safe facilities, and minimize the consequences of any accidental releases.

New user fees to be applied to EPA’s e-Manifest Program

EPA’s hazardous waste manifest system tracks both interstate and intrastate transportation of hazardous waste shipments. The , which became operational on June 30, 2018, is a national electronic database for hazardous waste manifests that will accept paper manifests until June 30, 2021.

The agency’s  outlines the various manifests that regulated parties may use to meet their legal obligations. New user fees will be in effect through Sept. 30, 2021.

Proposed new rules for state CWA certification process

In April 2019, Executive Order 13868 () was issued to promote private investment in the nation’s energy infrastructure through efficient permitting and increased regulatory certainty.

At present, under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, a project proponent must provide federal permitting agencies with state certification that it complies with CWA water quality standards in the state in which the project will occur.

In response to the EO, the EPA has submitted a  to establish a one-year deadline and limit the number of factors that states may consider for the certification process.

About the experts

Meghan Krishnayya, Indianapolis, is the Compliance & Permitting Service Line Director for Brown and Caldwell, with expertise in environmental regulatory program strategy development and implementation.

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