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Basics of the Clean Water Act (ELI Summer School, 2019)


June 18, 2019
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm


Environmental Law Institute
1730 M Street, NW, Suite 700 (Map)

Washington, DC (and via webinar)


This event is free and open to the public but you must register.

  • Please register by June 13. Contact mcmurrin@eli.org with questions.
  • For in-person attendance, REGISTER HERE.
  • For webinar/telecon, REGISTER HERE. Webinar information will be emailed one business day prior to the event. If you are unsure if you can access the webinar via the GoToMeeting platform, please go HERE to view system requirements prior to registering.
  • All times noted are Eastern Time. There is no CLE for this course. Please note that a recording of this event will be posted on this page (usually w/in 48 hours).

NOTE: All registrants for ELI events need to have a free ELI "account." When you click on the above Register Here link, you will be asked to log in.

  • ELI members and previous registrants have accounts. If you don't remember your password, please click on the "Request new password" tab.
  • Non-members who have previously not set up an ELI account may click on the "Create new account" tab, complete the process, and then return to this page to register. While creating this account does not confer membership, it will allow you to register for this and future events at any appropriate non-member rate that may be required.

Each summer, ELI convenes a complimentary seminar series that offers an introduction to the legal and policy foundations of environmental protection in the United States.

ELI's Summer School is a series of brown-bag lunch seminars taught by experts in their fields, introducing the audience to the major environmental statutes (including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Clean Air Act (CAA), Clean Water Act (CWA), Endangered Species Act (ESA), Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)), land use law, and environmental justice. Faculty will also incorporate major regulatory and judicial updates to the laws.

Who will benefit: All are welcome. Students and emerging professionals will have unique opportunities to learn, hear updates, ask questions, and network. The series is intended for:

  • undergraduates,
  • law students and graduate students, and
  • working professionals new to or looking for a refresher course in environmental law (such as interns, summer clerks, and associates, or second-career professionals).

Basics of the Clean Water Act

Amended in 1972, the Clean Water Act (CWA) calls for ending the discharge of pollutants into the waters of the United States. Decades since the passage of the CWA, fundamental questions regarding the jurisdictional range remain unanswered. This session will explore the progress made to date and the potential changes on the horizon. In 2015, EPA enacted the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule to clarify which waterways and wetlands were subject to federal jurisdiction. However, some stakeholders believe the established program to be too broad. Recent proposals have been made to update WOTUS to better establish the difference between federally protected waterways under the CWA and state protected waterways. Faculty will explore one of the nation’s most significant and pivotal environmental laws as it develops, including:

  • the regulatory and permitting framework for limiting water pollution,
  • the key distinction between point sources and nonpoint sources of pollution,
  • the corporate and private practice roles in complying with CWA, 
  • the current legal context of WOTUS,
  • and the considerations policymakers face in light of growing demands for water usage with growing energy needs, extreme weather, and climate change.

Joanna Citron Day
, Environmental Enforcement Section, Department of Justice
Kathy Robb, Principal, Sive, Paget & Riesel P.C.
Amanda Waters, General Counsel, National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA)

Joanna Citron Day presentation
Kathy Robb presentation

Additional Materials:
Kathy Robb article, Take me to the river: Does the Clean Water Act regulation indirect discharges to groundwater? (Westlaw, 11/20/18)
Additional materials/presentations will be posted as they are received...

**See the entire Summer School 2019 schedule HERE.**