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Mobil Oil Corp. v. EPA

ELR Citation: 13 ELR 20635
Nos. No. 82-C-5441, 18 ERC 2031/(N.D. Ill., 12/28/1982)

The district court holds that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has authority under §308 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) to inspect internal waste streams on plaintiff's property pursuant to a warrant. First, the court rules that the inspection and sampling conducted by EPA at plaintiff's facility was authorized by a valid warrant and met all applicable requirements of §308 of the FWPCA and the Fourth Amendment. The court rejects plaintiff's assertion that EPA's authority is limited to inspection of the final point of discharge of waste streams to navigable waters. Instead, it holds that the term "effluent" as used in the FWPCA and specifically in §308 includes all waste streams which flow out of equipment within facilities or out of the facility and are discharged to navigable waters or publicly owned treatment works. The court notes that EPA may sample point source discharges or internal waste streams without first requesting an owner or operator of that facility to sample those same effluents.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Thomas D. Allen, Elsie E. Singer, James M. Mulcahy
Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon
Suite 3000, One IBM Plaza, Chicago IL 60611
(312) 222-0400

Nelson S. Anthony, Regional Attorney; Arthur G. Hofmann
Mobil Oil Corp., 600 Woodfield Dr., Schaumberg IL 60196
(312) 885-6091

Counsel for Defendants
Dan K. Webb, U.S. Attorney; Edward J. Moran
U.S. Cthse., Rm. 1500 S, 219 S. Dearborn St., Chicago IL 60604
(312) 353-5300

Robert M. Anderson, Barbara Magel, David M. Sims
Office of Regional Counsel
Environmental Protection Agency, 230 S. Dearborn St., Chicago IL 60604
(312) 353-2000