On September 24, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Tennessee Clean Water Network v. Tennessee Valley Authority, held that the Clean Water Act (CWA) does not apply when a pollutant first traveled a short distance through groundwater before entering a navigable waterway. In doing so, the court held only direct discharges into navigable waters are governed by the CWA. This Comment argues that the Sixth Circuit’s decision runs counter to the CWA’s purpose and plain meaning; furthermore, it asserts that the Tennessee Clean Water Network decision will hamper the government’s ability to hold polluters accountable by opening up a significant loophole in the CWA’s jurisdiction.
Joseph Manning, Running Clean: Discharges to Groundwater Hydrologically Connected to Navigable Waters as a Means for Asserted Clean Water Act Jurisdiction, 61 B.C.L. Rev. E.Supp. II.-1 (2020), https://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/bclr/vol61/iss9/5