On January 11, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a new interpretation of its coal combustion residual (CCR) regulations: CCR landfills or surface impoundments “cannot be closed with coal ash in contact with groundwater.” Although EPA claims it has “consistently held” this interpretation, this is the first time EPA has expressly articulated this view. Perhaps acknowledging the novelty of its position, EPA also announced its intent to “review … state-level CCR program applications to ensure they are as protective as federal regulations” and to proceed toward a federal CCR permitting framework.
Continue Reading EPA Announces Key CCR Policy Amid Alternative Closure Determinations

In a landmark ruling signaling a new lens with which to view the treatment of interstate water allocation, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision on November 22 in Mississippi v. Tennessee, et al., 595 U.S. ___ (Case No. 21o143) rejecting Mississippi’s claim to sole ownership of waters of the Middle Claiborne Aquifer within that state’s borders. Instead, the Court held that the traditional remedy of equitable apportionment used to allocate surface waters of streams and rivers should apply. The case represents the first time that the Court has held that equitable apportionment applies to groundwater, which may open the door to new disputes among border states who claim equal rights to underground water resources.
Continue Reading Equitable Apportionment of Interstate Waters Sinks to New Levels

On January 28, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) announced the issuance of health advisories for four (4) per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) compounds in accordance with the Illinois Part 620 groundwater regulations (35 Ill. Adm. Code Part 620). Health advisories are issued when a chemical substance that is harmful to human health, and for which no numeric groundwater standard exists, is detected and confirmed in a community water supply well (35 Ill. Adm. Code 620.605). The four (4) PFAS compounds for which Illinois health advisories were issued are PFBS, PFHxS, PFHxA, and PFOA.

Continue Reading Illinois EPA Issues Health Advisories for Four Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)