Earlier this month, the United States EPA proposed a rule (“Proposed Rule”) that would update and revise National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) regulations. Rather than reopening the existing NPDES regulations for comprehensive revision, the Proposed Rule would make “specific targeted changes to the existing regulations” that align the regulations with statutory requirements and incorporate case law decisions. Essentially the update would “modernize” the NPDES regulations.
The Proposed Rule covers 15 topics. These pertain to permit applications; the water quality-based permitting process; permit objections, documentation and process efficiencies; the “vessels exclusion” (which authorizes certain discharges incidental to the normal operation of commercial vehicles); and the Clean Water Act (CWA) section 401 certification process.