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Do Golf Course Greenskeepers Need a Permit Under the Clean Water Act?

November 3, 2009

Golf course maintenance may soon be regulated by laws supporting environmental protection. On January 7, 2009, the Sixth Circuit concluded that as to farming operations dischargers of pesticide pollutants were subject to the permitting requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) under the Clean Water Act.

The decision could have a significant impact on golf course maintenance as it requires users of pesticides to obtain an NPDES permit if any of the pesticides sprayed comes in contact with a navigable water system. Pesticide use is a common method for controlling insects, rodents and other pests that interfere with a golfer’s enjoyment of the course. Conceivably this farming decision could be applied to every golf course that uses pesticides for pest control could fall under the regulation of the Clean Water Act.

For more information, contact attorney Pete Schmidt.

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