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On its cross-appeal, Sierra Club contends that the district court erred in ruling that Dominion did not violate general Conditions II.F and II.R to the Clean Water Act discharge permit issued by the VDEQ.
The district court stated that because the VDEQ "believes that [Dominion's] permits do not apply to groundwater, and therefore has found no violations," it was "defer[ring] to the [VDEQ's] decision finding Dominion in compliance." While we might have wished for more explanation from the district court in support of its decision to defer, especially since Sierra Club argued that the VDEQ's position was not supported by the plain language of the permits, we agree with both the VDEQ and Dominion that the subject Conditions must be read in context to give them their appropriate meaning and scope.
You must read the rest of the NOV to see whether the VDEQ requests any corrective action and the VDEQ's position on the installation's maximum penalty exposure.
The VDEQ could interpret this action as a knowing violation of the requirement to obtain a permit before storing hazardous waste.
It is important to keep in mind, though, that even if the VDEQ cannot impose a civil penalty under the specific environmental law, the VDEQ can still obtain injunctive relief to mandate compliance.
Next, contact the Environmental Program Manager and ask for assistance to find out whether the violations detailed in the VDEQ's NOV are accurate.
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