National Ground Water Association Submits Comments to EPA on SCOTUS County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund Guidance Memo

Jan 11, 2021, 13:38 PM
Jan 11, 2021, 13:50 PM


NGWA: Initial guidance document “falls short.”

(WESTERVILLE, OH — January 11, 2021) The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) has submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in response to their draft guidance to the regulated community and permitting authorities on applying the recent decision of the United States Supreme Court in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, in the Clean Water Act Section 402 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program for point source discharges that travel through groundwater before reaching waters of the United States.

NGWA argues within their comments that the EPA’s draft memorandum falls short in its mission to provide “focused guidance” to states and industries that may discharge potentially polluted groundwater that eventually flows into surface water. There is no guidance within the memo regarding when pollutant discharge into groundwater should initiate permit action.

“The field of hydrogeology has evolved to develop specific investigation and analysis tools to make determinations of groundwater/surface water interaction that can be applied to support states, municipalities, and industry decisions for NPDES permits,” said NGWA CEO Terry S. Morse, CAE, CIC.

NGWA also points to a lack of specific guidance on how potential pollutant dischargers should evaluate their individual sites and implement consistent decisions that are protective of the environment and aligned with the intent of the guidance. NGWA is offering the EPA assistance in the development of any future guidance by the agency.

“It is our hope that a guidance document will be created that is both accessible and has real world applications,” Morse said. “The experience and knowledge of our membership, I feel, will allow us to provide valuable and unique input to the EPA when drafting future guidance.”

NGWA, the largest trade association and professional society of groundwater professionals in the world, represents approximately 10,100 groundwater professionals within the United States and internationally. NGWA represents four key sectors: scientists and engineers employed by private industry, by the consulting community, by academic institutions, and by local, state, and federal governments to assess groundwater quality, availability, and sustainability; water-well contractors responsible for developing and constructing water well infrastructure for residential, commercial, and agricultural use; the manufacturers responsible for manufacturing; and the suppliers providing the equipment needed to make groundwater development possible.

To arrange an interview or request additional comments, please contact Ben Frech at, or call (614) 898-7791, ext. 1570.


The National Ground Water Association is a not-for-profit professional society and trade association for the global groundwater industry. Our members around the world include leading public and private sector groundwater scientists, engineers, water well system professionals, manufacturers, and suppliers of groundwater-related products and services. The Association’s vision is to be the leading groundwater association advocating for responsible development, management, and use of water.