Most Recent Waters Of The U.S. Clarification

By Chris Wright

In 2015 the EPA issued clarifying definitions of what are “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) for regulation under the Clean Water Act. These definitions were a response to an earlier Supreme Court decision for the EPA and US Army Corps of Engineers to clearly define the limits of their ability to regulate wetlands and other waters of the United States.

On December 11 2018, EPA issued a new a set of proposed definitions of Waters of the United States. The proposed new WOTUS rule may change the extent and types of areas that are regulated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA.
The EPA will take comments for 60 days after publication. EPA requested comment on a number of specific issues, including (1) whether tributaries should be limited to year-round flowing rivers and streams; (2) whether lakes and ponds should be more precisely defined; (3) whether and how to incorporate a data or mapping system that would identify waters subject to jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act; and (4) how the rule can be implemented to maintain clarity (e.g. by establishing a flooding frequency to determine when wetlands are jurisdictional).
Raedeke Associates, Inc. is following these potential changes and will keep you informed of any impact they may have on your projects.