Definition of "Waters of the United States" Under the Clean Water Act

Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

After U.S. Supreme Court decisions in SWANCC and Rapanos, the scope of "waters of the U.S." protected under all Clean Water Act (CWA) programs has been an issue of considerable debate and uncertainty. The Act has a single definition for "waters of the United States." As a result, these decisions affect the geographic scope of all CWA programs. SWANCC and Rapanos did not invalidate the current regulatory definition of "waters of the United States." However, the decisions established important considerations for how those regulations should be interpreted, and experience implementing the regulations has identified several areas that could benefit from additional clarification through rulemaking. The U.S. EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finalized a rule for determining whether a water is protected by the Clean Water Act. This rule clarifies which waterbodies are protected under the Clean Water Act.

RIN: 2040-AF30
Impacts and Effects: None
CFR Citation: 40 CFR 110,40 CFR 112,40 CFR 116,40 CFR 117,40 CFR 122,40 CFR 230,40 CFR 232,40 CFR 300,40 CFR 302,40 CFR 401,33 CFR 328
Priority: Other Significant
UA and Regulatory Plan Information open glossary dialog  
Publication Period: Fall 2015
Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Completed Action
Major Rule: No
Legal Authorities: 33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq. Clean Water Act
Legal Deadlines: None
Government Levels Affected: No
Federalism Implications: No
Unfunded Mandates: No
Requires Regulatory Flexibility Analysis: No
Small Entities Affected: No
International Impacts: No
Energy Effects: No
Included in Regulatory Plan: No
ActionDateFR Citation
NPRM04/21/201479 FR 22187
NPRM Comment Period Extended06/24/201479 FR 35712
NPRM Comment Period Extended10/14/201479 FR 61590
Notice10/24/201479 FR 63594
Final Rule06/29/201580 FR 37053
Final Rule Effective08/28/2015
Docket Details open glossary dialog  
Related RINs: None
Related Dockets: None
Type: Rulemaking
Location: HQ-OW

Primary Documents

View All  (7)
Comment Period Closed
Nov 14, 2014 11:59 PM ET
Proposed Rule
Posted: 04/21/2014
ID: EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880-0001
Comments Not Accepted
Posted: 06/29/2015
ID: EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880-20862
Comments Not Accepted
Proposed Rule
Posted: 10/24/2014
ID: EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880-8592
Comments Not Accepted
Proposed Rule
Posted: 10/14/2014
ID: EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880-7500
Comments Not Accepted
Proposed Rule
Posted: 06/24/2014
ID: EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880-2733

Supporting Documents

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Comments Not Accepted
Supporting & Related Material
Posted: 11/30/2015
ID: EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880-20876
Comments Not Accepted
Supporting & Related Material
Posted: 11/30/2015
ID: EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880-20878
Comments Not Accepted
Supporting & Related Material
Posted: 11/30/2015
ID: EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880-20877


View All  (20,592)

Comments Received*
Regulatory Timeline
Pre Rule
Current Stage
Proposed Rule
Current Stage
Final Rule
Current Stage
Current Stage
Agency Contact
Donna Downing
202 566-2428
Washington, DC 20460
Rose Kwok
202 566-0657
1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Mail Code 4502T
Washington, DC 20460
*This count refers to the total comment/submissions received on this docket, as of 11:59 PM yesterday. Note: Agencies review all submissions, however some agencies may choose to redact, or withhold, certain submissions (or portions thereof) such as those containing private or proprietary information, inappropriate language, or duplicate/near duplicate examples of a mass-mail campaign. This can result in discrepancies between this count and those displayed when conducting searches on the Public Submission document type. For specific information about an agency’s public submission policy, refer to its website or the Federal Register document.