Supreme Court Rules Clean Water Act Can Apply to Groundwater

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that the Clean Water Act can be used to regulate pollution that travels through groundwater, but narrowed the test to determine when a permit may be required to “when there is a direct discharge from a point source into navigable waters or when there is the functional equivalent of a direct discharge.” The Ninth Circuit had previously held more broadly that permits may be required when pollutants are “fairly traceable” from a point source such that that the discharge is “the functional equivalent” of a direct discharge.