Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Written by Zach Wike
Assistant Superintendent, Beavercreek Golf Club
On June 29, 2015, the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers issued
the final rule to redefine the "Waters of the United States’ (WOTUS) subject to
regulation under the Clean Water Act. This rule, which goes into effect on
August 28, 2015, may have a significant impact on your facility.
August 28, you will need to make sure your facility is in compliance with the
rule. There will be no grace period for the rule to take effect. As a turfgrass industry professional, there are several things that you need to do to make
sure you are in compliance. The first
step that needs to be taken is to evaluate your property to see whether your
surface waters are subject to federal jurisdiction. These categories
Traditional navigable waters
Impoundments of otherwise jurisdictional waters
Enumerated regional feature with a significant
Waters in the 100-year floodplain or within 4000
feet of a WOTUS with a significant nexus
Waters #1-6 are automatically federally protected. Waters
#7-8 are determined to be federal protected on a case by case basis. If your
facility has surface water that fall into one of these categories, you may need
to obtain permits if you are going to conduct activities that would result in a
"dredge/fill” activity or "discharge of a pollutant” to WOTUS. These activities
may include making pesticide and fertilizer applications, moving soil,
installing drainage, dredging ponds, aerating, and fixing stream alignments.
Failing to obtain permits could result in penalties of up to $37,500 per
violation per day although that is a worst case scenario.
This new rule will now encompass more facilities conducting routine maintenance practices. The complexity and lack of clarity in
the rule will create many challenges in our industry. The WOTUS rule is far
reaching and will have an impact on many industries. The Ohio Attorney General,
along with 29 other states, have filed a lawsuit against the WOTUS ruling.
Likewise, there are legislative efforts in both chambers of Congress to force
the agencies to withdraw the rule and go back to the drawing board with impacted
stakeholders to come up with a better rule.
At this time, there are a lot of
unanswered questions and lack of cohesion between the state and federal
agencies. Additional updates will follow as our industry’s concerns are
addressed. In the meantime, turfgrass managers should be evaluating their
properties to identify WOTUS areas. For additional information about the WOTUS
ruling, please review the links below and contact the GCSAA Government
Relations department with any further questions.
– Final Rule as published in the Federal Register
Permit No: OHG870001
Webinar – Implications and Implementation
100-year Floodplain Map Database
Director, Government Relations
1421 Research Park Dr.
Lawrence, KS 66049
Phone: (800) 472-7878
or contact Zach at: