From Rick Glick of our Portland Office and Lisa Doehl of our Anchorage Office:

On Jan. 8, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that flow from an improved portion of a waterway into an unimproved portion of the same waterway—even if polluted—does not qualify as “discharge of pollutants” under the Clean Water Act (CWA). Although this case arises in the context of a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4), it has major implications for dam owners everywhere. The case reaffirms evolving doctrine that dams are not point sources requiring National Pollutant Discharge Elimination (NPDES) permits per Section 402 of the CWA.

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