Like us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter

As you may know, yesterday marked the official repeal of a 2015 clean water rule, the Waters of the United States, or WOTUS, as it is colloquially known. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formally announced the repeal at an industry event on Thursday. With the Trump Administration in the throes of developing it's own rewritten rule, this announcement was expected sometime this year.

In December of 2018, the EPA unveiled a revised version of the rule, which rolled back many of the definitions used by the federal government to define both large and small bodies of water. In some cases, and more importantly, it defined what was not a "waters of the United States".

The 2018 release said that the following bodies of water would be federally regulated:
*              Traditional navigable waters and tributaries to those waters;
*              "Certain" ditches;
*              "Certain" lakes and ponds
*              Impoundments of jurisdictional waters
*              Wetlands adjacent to jurisdictional waters
The EPA rule also lays out what are not "waters of the United States," including the following:
*              Features that only contain water during or in response to rainfall;
*              Groundwater;
*              "Many" ditches, including most roadside or farm ditches;
*              Prior converted cropland;
*              Stormwater control features
*              Waste treatment systems
NACE has been at the forefront of advocating for a rewrite of the 2015 rule, as it placed burdensome restrictions on county government's ability to address infrastructure projects, as well as adding project costs in the term of bureaucratic red tape and delays.

The repeal of the 2015 rule reverts the nation's regulations of the Clean Water Act back to it's 1986 guidelines, which all parties admit is in need of updating to reflect today's environmental needs. The administration aims to have their final regulatory rule in place by the end of winter, to coincide with the beginning of the nation's agricultural season.

If I can answer any questions or concerns on this or any other issue, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Enjoy your weekend!


Kevan Stone
Executive Director
National Association of County Engineers

202-393-5041 | |

660 North Capitol Street NW, Suite 420 
Washington, DC  20001