ARLENE Q. STEVENS, ET AL.
PRETTYMAN MANOR MOBILE HOME PARK WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT
Circuit Court for Caroline County Case No. 05-C-15-018616
Berger, Shaw Geter, Sharer, J. Frederick (Senior Judge,
Specially Assigned), JJ.
case is an appeal from a judgment entered on judicial review
of an administrative decision. In 2015, the Maryland
Department of the Environment ("MDE") issued a
permit ("the Permit") to Prettyman Manor, LLC
("Prettyman"), appellee, to discharge treated
wastewater into Little Creek, a tributary of the Choptank
River. Arlene Q. Stevens and Mildred Quidas (collectively,
"Stevens and Quidas"), appellants, filed a petition
for judicial review in the Circuit Court for Caroline County.
The circuit court affirmed MDE's decision to issue the
appeal, Stevens and Quidas present two questions for our
review, which we have rephrased as follows:
1. Whether MDE failed to publish proper notice of
Prettyman's application before issuing the Permit.
2. Whether the Permit allows an unlawful discharge of total
suspended solids into an impaired water in violation of state
and federal water quality standards.
reasons explained herein, we shall affirm the judgment of the
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
The Clean Water Act and the National Pollutant Discharge
enacted the Clean Water Act ("the CWA") in 1972 to
"restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and
biological integrity of the Nation's waters." 33
U.S.C. § 1251(a). To this end, the CWA prohibits the
discharge of any pollutant to waters of the United States
without a permit issued through the National Pollutant
Discharge Elimination System ("NPDES"). 33 U.S.C.
§ 1251(a)(1); 33 U.S.C. § 1311(a); 33 U.S.C. §
requires that every NPDES permit contain
(1) effluent limitations that reflect the pollution reduction
achievable by using technologically practicable controls and
Piney See Run Preservation Ass'n v. Cnty.
Commissioners of Carroll Cnty., 268 F.3d 255, 266 (4th
Cir. 2001) (quoting Am. Paper Inst., Inc. v. U.S.
E.P.A., 996 F.2d 346, 349 (D.C. Cir. 1993)).
to 33 U.S.C. § 1313(d), states are required to identify
all waters within their respective boundaries where
technology-based effluent limitations are inadequate to
ensure that water quality standards are being met. For each
impaired water, a state must establish a total maximum daily
load ("TMDL") for every pollutant that is
preventing the water from meeting water quality standards. 33
U.S.C. § 1313(d). Under 40 C.F.R. § 122.4(i), no
permit may be issued "[t]o a new source or a new
discharger, if the discharge from its construction or
operation will cause or contribute to the violation of water
quality standards." When an applicant for an NPDES
permit proposes to discharge a pollutant into an impaired
body of water subject to a TMDL for that pollutant, the
applicant must demonstrate that
(1) [t]here are sufficient remaining pollutant load
allocations to allow for the discharge; and
(2) [t]he existing dischargers into that segment are
subject to compliance schedules designed to bring the
segment into compliance with applicable water quality
standards. The Director may waive the submission of
information by the new source or new discharger required by
paragraph (i) of this section if the Director determines
that the Director already has adequate information to
evaluate the request.
40 C.F.R. § 122.4(i).
authorized to issue NPDES permits for discharges in Maryland.
Maryland Code (1986, 2014 Repl. Vol., 2016 Supp.), §
9-324 of the Environment Article ("Env't");
see also Piney See Run Preservation Ass'n,
supra, 268 F.3d at 266 (noting that "EPA has
authorized approximately forty states, including Maryland, to
issue NPDES permits"). When issuing NPDES permits for
wastewater treatment plants ("WWTPs"), MDE must
ensure that the proposed designs comply with technology-based
effluent limitations as well as specific limitations for
total suspended solids ("TSS"), biochemical oxygen
demand, and pH levels. 40 C.F.R. § 133.100 et
seq. Pursuant to 40 C.F.R. § 122.4(i), MDE must
also ensure that a new discharge to an impaired body of water
does not violate applicable TMDLs.
Notice and Comment Procedures for NPDES Permits
required to publish notice for each application for an NPDES
permit. Env't § 1-603; Env't § 9-324. The
notice of application must include the following information:
a) The name of the applicant;
b) The type of permit applied for;
c) The type of proposed discharge;
d) The volume of the proposed discharge;
e) The location of the proposed discharge;
f) A statement that persons may review and copy the
application or related material and the procedure for doing
g) A statement that the Department shall hold an
informational meeting, if a person makes a written request
within 10 working days of the publication of the notice, and
the procedure for requesting an informational meeting; and
h) Other information the Department determines is necessary
for adequate public notification.
receiving an application for an NPDES permit, MDE "shall
prepare a tentative determination[.]" Env't §
1-604; COMAR 26.08.04.01-2(B)(1)(a). MDE must then publish --
or require the applicant to publish -- a notice of tentative
determination that includes the following information:
(i) The information in §B(1)(a) of this
(ii) The procedures for a person to review and copy the
tentative determination, draft permit, or related material;
(iii) A statement allowing 30 days for public comment to the
notice of tentative determination before the issuance of the
final determination and the ...