Water Pollution

Supreme Court Rules Discharges To Groundwater Could Require Clean Water Permit

For the second time this week, the United States Supreme Court surprised environmental groups when it held in County of  Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund that the Clean Water Act permitting requirements applied not only to direct discharges of pollutants from point sources but also to discharges to groundwater that are the “functional equivalent” of …

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EPA Issues Guidance For Continuing or Suspending Response Actions During COVID-19 Crisis

In our post discussing EPA’s Enforcement Discretion guidance, we mentioned that EPA was working on guidance for performing remedial actions during the Covid-19 crisis. On April 10th, EPA issued its “Interim Guidance on Site Field Work Decisions Due to Impacts of COVID-19” (Interim Guidance) to regional offices when determining to continue, reduce, or pause on-site …

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EPA Issues Enforcement Discretion Memo for Routine Civil Violations Arising from COVID-19 Pandemic

Update: EPA has created a frequently-asked questions about covid-19 webpage that is available Here. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has issued a Memo announcing that it will temporarily exercise enforcement discretion for certain civil violations where the non-compliance was a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Contrary to news articles in such publications  as E&E News, The …

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New DEC Interactive Map Expedites Environmental Due Diligence

Performing environmental due diligence has become easier with the launch of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation DECInfo Locator. Until the launch of this website, consultants and attorneys seeking information about contaminated sites had to file requests under the state Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). The limited NYSDEC FOIL staff usually took weeks …

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EPA PFAS Action Plan will bring back the fun in Superfund

Last month, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) issued its Action Plan  to address concerns about perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) which have increasingly being detected in drinking water systems. The action plan has the potential to significantly increase liability for manufacturers and users of products containing or treated with these compounds.. …

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Documerica Project Captures Environmental Images From 1970s

New York City enjoyed classic fall weather last week with cloudless skies and crisp temperatures. Depending on how high your office or apartment was located, you could see all the way down to New York Harbor, see Yankee Stadium in the Bronx or Citifield where the Mets play. On days like these, it is hard …

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NYC Launches Initiative To Reduce Grease Discharges To Sewer System

Fats, oil and grease (FOG) found in food ingredients can build up in sewer systems and constrict flow, causing sewer back-ups and interfere with sewage treatment processes.  According to the federal EPA, 40% of sewer backups are caused by grease clogging the sewers Many buildings in NYC have executive dining rooms, employee cafeterias and restaurants …

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Split Decision for NJ Owner in Floodplain Case

In the wake of increased damage from storms as well as growing recognition of the environmental benefits of floodplains, states are increasingly limiting development in areas that are prone to flooding during storms. This regulatory trend sometimes conflicts with state and federal historic preservation programs where historic building may be located in areas that are …

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Bank Declines To Foreclose Because of Costs to Remedy Stormwater Violations

When builders were defaulting on construction loans during the height of the Great Recession, states began turning to banks to ensure that partially completed developments remained in compliance with environmental laws. The greatest number of enforcement actions were brought against banks in California,Georgia and North Carolina with unconfirmed reports in other states. Under the federal Clean …

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Cleanup Under NY Water Law Order Is CERCLA Removal Action for Statute of Limitations Purposes

Groundwater at many commercial properties in Long island and suburban areas of New York has been contaminated from discharges to dry wells, leaching pools and septic systems. In the 1980s, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) frequently used consent orders issued pursuant to Title 17 of the Environmental Conservation Law which prohibits …

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