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DC WASA Phase II Permit Appeal


DC WASA Phase II Permit Appeal

The U.S. Environmental Appeal Board (EAB) released a much-anticipated ruling in March 2008, finding that a NPDES discharge permit issued to NACWA member agency the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DCWASA) should have contained a compliance schedule for implementation of the District of Columbia’s combined sewer overflow (CSO) long term control plan (LTCP). The case involved a discharge permit which did not contain a compliance schedule for DCWASA’s LTCP to reduce CSOs, despite a requirement in the District of Columbia’s water quality regulations that all permits must contain such compliance schedules. Additionally, the permit also lacked a compliance schedule for new, more stringent nitrogen limits outlined in the permit. DCWASA challenged the permit because of the absence of these two compliance schedules, and NACWA collaborated with the Wet Weather Partnership (WWP) to file joint briefs before the EAB supporting DCWASA’s appeal and outlining the importance of compliance schedules for CSO communities.

The EAB decision largely adopted the arguments made by NACWA and the WWP, finding that the District of Columbia regulations require the challenged permit to have compliance schedules for both the LTCP and the new nitrogen limits and remanding the permit back to EPA to include the necessary compliance schedules. The decision represents a significant victory for NACWA members as it reaffirms the power of states to require compliance schedules in NPDES permits, and it also emphasizes the importance of compliance schedules to CSO communities with LTCPs. Additionally, it sets an important national precedent which will be helpful to other NACWA members and CSO communities.


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