If a state or local government discharges a pollutant from a point source to a navigable water it must obtain a permit under the Clean Water Act (CWA). But what if that pollutant is conveyed in something—say groundwater—between the point source and the navigable water? Must the state or local government still obtain a permit? That is the question the Supreme Court will decide next term in County of Maui, Hawaii v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund.
Maui County injects treated wastewater from wells into the groundwater. Some of the treated wastewater reaches the Pacific Ocean. The Hawaii Wildlife Fund sued the County arguing it was required to obtain a permit under the CWA for these discharges. Continue reading