Apr 21, 2020
Today the EPA released the final rule defining Navigable Waters. It essentially narrows the definition of a waterway back to what it originally was. It had expanded over the years to be interpreted widely. The concern is that there are specific procedures for reporting spills of transformer oil (among other fluids) to the EPA (typically through the EMA) when they reach a “navigable waterway”. So this change in definition should make our lives a little easier, but it is important to talk with your local EPA and EMA person(s) to come to an understanding of what they are looking for when you have a spill.
This provides a good opportunity for you to bring it to your local EPA, EMA contact persons attention and have a discussion as it pertains to your operations. I would suggest that you skim through the doc to become generally aware with what has evolved over time and how it is now so you can review your SPCC plan and your PCB Spill Clean-up procedure to make sure the appropriate spills are being reported.
I have attached a copy of the Federal Register for your review. This rule goes into effect June 22, 2020 and replaces the rule published on Oct 22, 2019. Of note is the fact that specific waters are excluded as identified in paragraph (b). The definition of “waters of the United States” is specifically spelled out, including waters that are excluded from the definition in the background section of the text.