EPA to Issue New Water Quality Permit for Chemical Spray Applications

The Environmental Protection Agency is set to release in January a first-ever Clean Water Act permit for chemical spraying activities "on or near waters.” States will be given up to four months to adopt the permit before a court-ordered deadline of April 2011.

The permit is being developed in response to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit's 2009 ruling in the case National Cotton Council, et al. v. EPA, which vacated an EPA rule that exempted chemical spraying activities from water quality permitting. The ruling, which requires the permit to take effect by April 2011, means that some chemical applications are now considered discharges under the water act, requiring a permit to avoid liability for unregulated discharges.

At a Dec. 14 meeting of the Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee, EPA’s Allison Wiedeman said that releasing the permit four months early would give states that have their own implementing authority time to use the EPA permit template in their state, as well as allow for time to do outreach to industry groups that will need to use the permit.

For more information, contact ACWA Regulatory Affairs Director Mark Rentz.