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Washington State MS4 Permit Appeal


Washington State MS4 Permit Appeal

The Washington State Pollution Control Hearing Board (PCHB) has resolved all remaining issues in Puget Soundkeeper Alliance v. State of Washington, a case involving a challenge to municipal stormwater permits issued by the State of Washington.   Although NACWA was not involved in the PCHB’s deliberation on the final issues, the ruling marks an important win for NACWA and its members in Washington State, bringing to an end a complex litigation over stormwater permits.  NACWA won a key victory on an early issue in the case in April 2008 when the PCHB issued a preliminary ruling that that the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) does not require strict compliance with state water quality standards in stormwater permits, agreeing with the position taken by NACWA and the National Association of Flood & Stormwater Management Agencies (NAFSMA) in a joint brief.  The hearing board also agreed with NACWA and NAFSMA that neither the federal Phase I and Phase II stormwater regulations nor the federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit regulations require strict compliance with state water quality standards.  The ruling echoes previous victories NACWA has obtained in similar stormwater cases and reinforces the position that the federal CWA does not require permit holders to go beyond the “maximum extent practicable” (MEP) standard for controlling pollutants in municipal separate stormwater sewer system (MS4) discharges.



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