Pre Loader

Definition of “Waters of the United States”- Recodification of Pre-Existing Rules

Glistening Water

The final rule to repeal the 2015 Clean Water Rule was published to the federal register on 10/15. This rescinds the 2015 Clean Water Rule and re-codifies the regulatory definition of water of the United States as it existed prior to the 2015 rule. The rule will be effective as of 12/23/19.

The agencies are taking this final action to repeal the Clean Water Rule: Definition of “Waters of the United States,” 80 FR 37054 (June 29, 2015), and to recodify the regulatory definitions of “waters of the United States” that existed prior to the August 28, 2015 effective date of the 2015 Rule. Those pre-existing regulatory definitions are the ones that the agencies are currently implementing in more than half the States in light of various judicial decisions currently enjoining the 2015 Rule. As of the effective date of this final rule, the agencies will administer the regulations promulgated in 1986 and 1988 in portions of 33 CFR part 328 and 40 CFR parts 110, 112, 116, 117, 122, 230, 232, 300, 302, and 401,[1] and will continue to interpret the statutory term “waters of the United States” to mean the waters covered by those regulations consistent with Supreme Court decisions and longstanding practice, as informed by applicable agency guidance documents, training, and experience.


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