EPA and Army Announce New Clean Water Act WOTUS Rule

EPA and the Army have announced the new “Navigable Waters Protection Rule,” that revises the definition for Waters of the United States (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act. The new rule is part of President Trump’s agenda to finalize a revised WOTUS definition for navigable waters in the US and provide regulatory certainty and predictability. The pre-publication of the final rule is 340 pages and includes background information and a history of the rule and guidance, in addition to providing specific definitions for what the new WOTUS includes and excludes.

The final rule interprets WOTUS to include:

  • Territorial seas and traditional navigable waters;
  • Perennial and intermittent tributaries that contribute surface water flow to such waters;
  • Certain lakes, ponds, and impoundments of jurisdictional waters; and
  • Wetlands adjacent to other jurisdictional waters.

The final rule interprets WOTUS to exclude:

  • Groundwater, including groundwater drained through subsurface drainage systems;
  • Ephemeral features that flow only in direct response to precipitation;
  • Diffuse stormwater runoff and directional sheet flow over upland;
  • Ditches that are not traditional navigable waters or tributaries;
  • Prior converted cropland; and more.

For more information, and to read the press release and the pre-publication version of the Federal Register notice, visit the EPA website.