Wastewater from a Maui County treatment plant that ends up in the Pacific Ocean after traveling through groundwater should not be regulated under the Clean Water Act, the county argued in a brief filed in the Supreme Court Thursday.

“Every tool of statutory interpretation confirms a bright-line and common sense reading of the CWA,” the brief says. “A point source permit is only required for the delivery of pollutants to navigable waters by means of a point source or series of point sources.”

The CWA’s state nonpoint source management programs, and other state and federal laws, “apply where pollutants are being delivered to navigable waters by nonpoint sources,” the county said.

The case is being closely followed by ag interests who are worried nonpoint source discharges such as manure could be regulated.

The case could go away: Some Maui County council members are concerned about how it looks for Maui County to be involved in a case that could result in a Supreme Court decision limiting the scope of the Clean Water Act, and have proposed settling the matter.

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