Section 502 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1362) is amended by adding at the end the following:
‘(26) FILL MATERIAL- The term ‘fill material’ means any pollutant which replaces portions of the waters of the United States with dry land or which changes the bottom elevation of a water body for any purpose. The term does not include any pollutant discharged into the water primarily to dispose of waste.’.
What this language means is that the dumping of toxic wastes into waterways can no longer take place through the loophole that the waste is claimed to be ‘fill material’. That’s something that companies doing mountaintop removal coal mining have done, filling in entire creek beds with rubble containing deadly heavy metals, which make their way into the drinking water of local residents and destroy the waterway far downstream.
The legislation has 122 cosponsors and is under review by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.