NACWA Files Brief in Support of General Nutrient Variance

threeNACWA filed a brief April 10, in support of EPA’s approval of a state general nutrient variance, which was challenged by environmental groups in federal district court. (See Upper Missouri Waterkeeper v. EPA, U.S. District Court, Montana).

In 2014, Montana promulgated numeric nutrient criteria (NNC) for phosphorus and nitrogen. Both EPA and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MTDEQ) understood that most NPDES dischargers, including POTWs, would be unable to meet the very low in-stream limits. Thus, at the same time MTDEQ submitted the criteria to EPA for approval, the State applied for a general variance. EPA approved both in February 2015. 

In May 2016, the Upper Missouri Waterkeeper filed litigation against EPA seeking to have the variance approval overturned. Without the variance, all NDPES dischargers would be required to comply with the State’s low in-stream NNC causing significant economic impacts. 

NACWA intervened in the case last October to ensure the variance approval was defended.  On March 3, EPA filed its Summary Judgement Motion and Memorandum defending the Agency’s actions in approving the variance. See this previously published article in the Clean Water Current for more details on this case.