On Tuesday, December 11, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) released a new proposed “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) definition to replace the 2015 WOTUS rule issued under the Obama Administration.
In its official statement, the EPA stated the intent of the proposed definition is to provide a “clear, understandable and implementable definition of “Waters of the United States” that clarifies federal authority under the Clean Water Act.” The announcement comes a little over a year after an executive order directing the EPA to withdraw and rewrite the 2015 rule.
The new proposed definition would create six categories of regulated waters and includes 11 exemptions. The six categories of WOTUS include: traditional navigable waters; tributaries; certain ditches; certain lakes and ponds; impoundments; and adjacent wetlands.
The proposed rule specifies that if water does not meet one of the six listed categories, it will not be considered a WOTUS and clarifies that certain other waters will also no longer be considered a WOTUS, such as ditches, features that are only wet during rainfall events, groundwater, stormwater control features, wastewater recycling infrastructure built in uplands, converted cropland and waste treatment systems.
To read the proposed rule and agency fact sheets, click here.