San Diego Law Review


John H. Minan

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



The Clean Water Act, the primary federal statute regulating water pollution, requires municipal storm water discharge permits, under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program, to include provisions controlling discharges from municipal separate storm sewer systems. This article questions whether the Clean Water Act's maximum extent practicable standard is the only statutory standard given the current trend toward compliance with state water quality standards independent of the maximum extent practicable standard, and whether the Clean Water Act superseded the state water quality standards. State water quality standards act as a water quality threshold, which are reviewed often by the states and the Environmental Protection Agency. Because the water quality standards provisions were enacted before Section 402(p) of the Clean Water Act was adopted, the legal controversy focuses on the proper application, enforcement and role of Section 402(p). Through a discussion of the plain meaning, legislative history, administrative and case law, and internal structure and organization of Section 402(p) and the Clean Water Act, the author concludes that prohibiting municipal separate storm sewer system discharges that violate water quality standards is under the regulators discretionary authority.

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