The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Thursday, April 23rd that the Clean Water Act applies to and should regulate discharges to navigable waters through groundwater.
This discussion was in the context of the court case County of Maui v. Hawai’i Wildlife Fund. The current law requires those who discharge pollutants into navigable waters from pipes or wells to obtain a federal permit. But the question presented in the case was whether permits are also required for pollution that travels some distance from the pipe or well through groundwater and makes its way into navigable water.
The Clean Water Act’s primary objective is to restore and maintain the integrity of the nation’s waters. The objective translates into two fundamental national goals: to eliminate the discharge of pollutants into the nation’s waters, and to achieve water quality levels that are fishable and swimmable.
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