Legal Problems Arising out of Highway Programs. Topic 21-02. Stormwater Discharges

Transportation departments discharge voluminous amounts of stormwater in the management of their highway systems. Historically these discharges were not regulated by any pollution control standards. Every transportation department is regulated today by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program. As long as the transportation department complies with its NPDES permit, generally no liability arises for the water quality of any storm water discharge. Recently, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) has created arranger liability for stormwater discharges in at least one case in the State of Washington. A recent Supreme Court case has defined when a discharge occurs under the NPDES program. Concern has arisen that a transportation department may be liable for contaminated stormwater discharges even though it has complied with its NPDES permit. Research is needed on enforcement actions taken against transportation departments regarding discharges regulated under NPDES. These actions could be initiated by State environmental protection agencies, United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), or private citizens. The results of these enforcement actions could provide guidance to Transportation Departments in the management of their stormwater discharge programs.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $30000.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-06, Topic

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 225
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    McDaniel, James

  • Start Date: 20141209
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 38161

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01556457
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-06, Topic
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Mar 6 2015 1:00AM