Tuesday, March 10, 2009

SPCC Rule - EPA Changes Definition of “Navigable Waters''

The SPCC Rule (40 CFR 112) is intended to prevent and control accidental discharges of oils to "navigable waters" of the US. The definition of "navigable waters" is an important element of the regulation.

In November 2008, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promulgated a final rule to amend a Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 311 regulation that defines the term “navigable waters'', effective November 26, 2008.

As background, the SPCC rule was originally promulgated on December 11, 1973. The 1973 SPCC rule defined “navigable waters'' (see below). In 2002, EPA amended the SPCC rule including a revision to the regulatory definition of “navigable waters”.

On March 31, 2008, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the Agency's promulgation of the revised definition of ``navigable waters'' in the July 2002 SPCC rule violated the Administrative Procedure Act. The court vacated the July 2002 SPCC regulatory definition of ``navigable waters'' and specifically restored the 1973 SPCC regulatory definition:

Navigable waters of the United States means ``navigable waters'' as defined in section 502(7) of the FWPCA, and includes:
(1) All navigable waters of the United States, as defined in judicial decisions prior to passage of the 1972 Amendments to the FWPCA (Pub. L. 92-500), and tributaries of such waters;
(2) Interstate waters;
(3) Intrastate lakes, rivers, and streams which are utilized by interstate travelers for recreational or other purposes; and
(4) Intrastate lakes, rivers, and streams from which fish or shellfish are taken and sold in interstate commerce.

SPCC Plan and SPCC Template Plan Compliance
Caltha LLP provides expert consulting services to public and private sector clients nationwide to address Stormwater Permitting & Regulatory Support, Spill Prevention and SPCC Plans, Stormwater Monitoring and Stormwater Training. For futher information on SPCC services, go to:
SPCC - 40 CFR 112 Compliance Services

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