40 CFR 116.3 - Definitions.

§ 116.3 Definitions.
As used in this part, all terms shall have the meaning defined in the Act and as given below:
The Act means the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended by the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 (Pub. L. 92-500), and as further amended by the Clean Water Act of 1977 (Pub. L. 95-217), 33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.; and as further amended by the Clean Water Act Amendments of 1978 (Pub. L. 95-676);
Animals means appropriately sensitive animals which carry out respiration by means of a lung structure permitting gaseous exchange between air and the circulatory system;
Aquatic animals means appropriately sensitive wholly aquatic animals which carry out respiration by means of a gill structure permitting gaseous exchange between the water and the circulatory system;
Aquatic flora means plant life associated with the aquatic eco-system including, but not limited to, algae and higher plants;
Contiguous zone means the entire zone established or to be established by the United States under article 24 of the Convention of the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone;
Discharge includes, but is not limited to, any spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying or dumping, but excludes (A) discharges in compliance with a permit under section 402 of this Act, (B) discharges resulting from circumstances identified and reviewed and made a part of the public record with respect to a permit issued or modified under section 402 of this Act, and subject to a condition in such permit, and (C) continuous or anticipated intermittent discharges from a point source, identified in a permit or permit application under section 402 of this Act, which are caused by events occurring within the scope of relevant operating or treatment systems;
LC50 means that concentration of material which is lethal to one-half of the test population of aquatic animals upon continuous exposure for 96 hours or less.
Mixture means any combination of two or more elements and/or compounds in solid, liquid, or gaseous form except where such substances have undergone a chemical reaction so as to become inseparable by physical means.
Navigable waters is defined in section 502(7) of the Act to mean “waters of the United States, including the territorial seas,” and includes, but is not limited to:
(1) All waters which are presently used, or were used in the past, or may be susceptible to use as a means to transport interstate or foreign commerce, including all waters which are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide, and including adjacent wetlands; the term wetlands as used in this regulation shall include those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevelance of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs and similar areas; the term adjacent means bordering, contiguous or neighboring;
(2) Tributaries of navigable waters of the United States, including adjacent wetlands;
(3) Interstate waters, including wetlands; and
(4) All other waters of the United States such as intrastate lakes, rivers, streams, mudflats, sandflats and wetlands, the use, degradation or destruction of which affect interstate commerce including, but not limited to:
(i) Intrastate lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands which are utilized by interstate travelers for recreational or other purposes; and
(ii) Intrastate lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands from which fish or shellfish are or could be taken and sold in interstate commerce; and
(iii) Intrastate lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands which are utilized for industrial purposes by industries in interstate commerce.
Navigable waters do not include prior converted cropland. Notwithstanding the determination of an area's status as prior converted cropland by any other federal agency, for the purposes of the Clean Water Act, the final authority regarding Clean Water Act jurisdiction remains with EPA.
Offshore facility means any facility of any kind located in, on, or under, any of the navigable waters of the United States, and any facility of any kind which is subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and is located in, on, or under any other waters, other than a vessel or a public vessel;
Onshore facility means any facility (including, but not limited to, motor vehicles and rolling stock) of any kind located in, on, or under, any land within the United States other than submerged land;
Otherwise subject to the jurisdiction of the United States means subject to the jurisdiction of the United States by virtue of United States citizenship, United States vessel documentation or numbering, or as provided for by international agreement to which the United States is a party.
A discharge in connection with activities under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act or the Deepwater Port Act of 1974, or which may affect natural resources belonging to, appertaining to, or under the exclusive management authority of the United States (including resources under the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976), means: (1) A discharge into any waters beyond the contiguous zone from any vessel or onshore or offshore facility, which vessel or facility is subject to or is engaged in activities under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act or the Deepwater Port Act of 1974, and (2) any discharge into any waters beyond the contiguous zone which contain, cover, or support any natural resource belonging to, appertaining to, or under the exclusive management authority of the United States (including resources under the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976).
Public vessel means a vessel owned or bareboat-chartered and operated by the United States, or a State or political subdivision thereof, or by a foreign nation, except when such vessel is engaged in commerce.
Territorial seas means the belt of the seas measured from the line of ordinary low water along that portion of the coast which is in direct contact with the open sea and the line marking the seaward limit of inland waters, and extending seaward a distance of 3 miles.
Vessel means every description of watercraft or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water other than a public vessel;
[43 FR 10474, Mar. 13, 1978; 43 FR 27533, June 26, 1978, as amended at 44 FR 10266, Feb. 16, 1979; 58 FR 45039, Aug. 25, 1993]
Beta! The text on the eCFR tab represents the unofficial eCFR text at ecfr.gov.
§ 116.3 Definitions.

As used in this part, all terms shall have the meaning defined in the Act and as given below:

The Act means the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended by the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 (Pub. L. 92-500), and as further amended by the Clean Water Act of 1977 (Pub. L. 95-217), 33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.; and as further amended by the Clean Water Act Amendments of 1978 (Pub. L. 95-676);

Animals means appropriately sensitive animals which carry out respiration by means of a lung structure permitting gaseous exchange between air and the circulatory system;

Aquatic animals means appropriately sensitive wholly aquatic animals which carry out respiration by means of a gill structure permitting gaseous exchange between the water and the circulatory system;

Aquatic flora means plant life associated with the aquatic eco-system including, but not limited to, algae and higher plants;

Contiguous zone means the entire zone established or to be established by the United States under article 24 of the Convention of the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone;

Discharge includes, but is not limited to, any spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying or dumping, but excludes (A) discharges in compliance with a permit under section 402 of this Act, (B) discharges resulting from circumstances identified and reviewed and made a part of the public record with respect to a permit issued or modified under section 402 of this Act, and subject to a condition in such permit, and (C) continuous or anticipated intermittent discharges from a point source, identified in a permit or permit application under section 402 of this Act, which are caused by events occurring within the scope of relevant operating or treatment systems;

LC50 means that concentration of material which is lethal to one-half of the test population of aquatic animals upon continuous exposure for 96 hours or less.

Mixture means any combination of two or more elements and/or compounds in solid, liquid, or gaseous form except where such substances have undergone a chemical reaction so as to become inseparable by physical means.

Navigable waters is defined in section 502(7) of the Act to mean “waters of the United States, including the territorial seas.”

(1) For purposes of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq. and its implementing regulations, subject to the exclusions in paragraph (2) of this definition, the term “waters of the United States” means:

(i) All waters which are currently used, were used in the past, or may be susceptible to use in interstate or foreign commerce, including all waters which are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide;

(ii) All interstate waters, including interstate wetlands;

(iii) The territorial seas;

(iv) All impoundments of waters otherwise identified as waters of the United States under this section;

(v) All tributaries, as defined in paragraph (3)(iii) of this definition, of waters identified in paragraphs (1)(i) through (iii) of this definition;

(vi) All waters adjacent to a water identified in paragraphs (1)(i) through (v) of this definition, including wetlands, ponds, lakes, oxbows, impoundments, and similar waters;

(vii) All waters in paragraphs (1)(vii)(A) through (E) of this definition where they are determined, on a case-specific basis, to have a significant nexus to a water identified in paragraphs (1)(i) through (iii) of this definition. The waters identified in each of paragraphs (1)(vii)(A) through (E) of this definition are similarly situated and shall be combined, for purposes of a significant nexus analysis, in the watershed that drains to the nearest water identified in paragraphs (1)(i) through (iii) of this definition. Waters identified in this paragraph shall not be combined with waters identified in paragraph (1)(vi) of this definition when performing a significant nexus analysis. If waters identified in this paragraph are also an adjacent water under paragraph (1)(vi), they are an adjacent water and no case-specific significant nexus analysis is required.

(A) Prairie potholes. Prairie potholes are a complex of glacially formed wetlands, usually occurring in depressions that lack permanent natural outlets, located in the upper Midwest.

(B) Carolina bays and Delmarva bays. Carolina bays and Delmarva bays are ponded, depressional wetlands that occur along the Atlantic coastal plain.

(C) Pocosins. Pocosins are evergreen shrub and tree dominated wetlands found predominantly along the Central Atlantic coastal plain.

(D) Western vernal pools. Western vernal pools are seasonal wetlands located in parts of California and associated with topographic depression, soils with poor drainage, mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers.

(E) Texas coastal prairie wetlands. Texas coastal prairie wetlands are freshwater wetlands that occur as a mosaic of depressions, ridges, intermound flats, and mima mound wetlands located along the Texas Gulf Coast.

(viii) All waters located within the 100-year floodplain of a water identified in paragraphs (1)(i) through (iii) of this definition and all waters located within 4,000 feet of the high tide line or ordinary high water mark of a water identified in paragraphs (1)(i) through (v) of this definition where they are determined on a case-specific basis to have a significant nexus to a water identified in paragraphs (1)(i) through (iii) of this definition. For waters determined to have a significant nexus, the entire water is a water of the United States if a portion is located within the 100-year floodplain of a water identified in paragraphs (1)(i) through (iii) of this definition or within 4,000 feet of the high tide line or ordinary high water mark. Waters identified in this paragraph shall not be combined with waters identified in paragraph (1)(vi) of this definition when performing a significant nexus analysis. If waters identified in this paragraph are also an adjacent water under paragraph (1)(vi), they are an adjacent water and no case-specific significant nexus analysis is required.

(2) The following are not “waters of the United States” even where they otherwise meet the terms of paragraphs (1)(iv) through (viii) of this definition.

(i) Prior converted cropland. Notwithstanding the determination of an area's status as prior converted cropland by any other Federal agency, for the purposes of the Clean Water Act, the final authority regarding Clean Water Act jurisdiction remains with EPA.

(ii) The following ditches:

(A) Ditches with ephemeral flow that are not a relocated tributary or excavated in a tributary.

(B) Ditches with intermittent flow that are not a relocated tributary, excavated in a tributary, or drain wetlands.

(C) Ditches that do not flow, either directly or through another water, into a water identified in paragraphs (1)(i) through (iii) of this definition.

(iii) The following features:

(A) Artificially irrigated areas that would revert to dry land should application of water to that area cease;

(B) Artificial, constructed lakes and ponds created in dry land such as farm and stock watering ponds, irrigation ponds, settling basins, fields flooded for rice growing, log cleaning ponds, or cooling ponds;

(C) Artificial reflecting pools or swimming pools created in dry land;

(D) Small ornamental waters created in dry land;

(E) Water-filled depressions created in dry land incidental to mining or construction activity, including pits excavated for obtaining fill, sand, or gravel that fill with water;

(F) Erosional features, including gullies, rills, and other ephemeral features that do not meet the definition of tributary, non-wetland swales, and lawfully constructed grassed waterways; and

(G) Puddles.

(iv) Groundwater, including groundwater drained through subsurface drainage systems.

(v) Stormwater control features constructed to convey, treat, or store stormwater that are created in dry land.

(vi) Wastewater recycling structures constructed in dry land; detention and retention basins built for wastewater recycling; groundwater recharge basins; percolation ponds built for wastewater recycling; and water distributary structures built for wastewater recycling.

(3) In this definition, the following terms apply:

(i) Adjacent. The term adjacent means bordering, contiguous, or neighboring a water identified in paragraphs (1)(i) through (v) of this definition, including waters separated by constructed dikes or barriers, natural river berms, beach dunes, and the like. For purposes of adjacency, an open water such as a pond or lake includes any wetlands within or abutting its ordinary high water mark. Adjacency is not limited to waters located laterally to a water identified in paragraphs (1)(i) through (v) of this definition. Adjacent waters also include all waters that connect segments of a water identified in paragraphs (1)(i) through (v) or are located at the head of a water identified in paragraphs (1)(i) through (v) of this definition and are bordering, contiguous, or neighboring such water. Waters being used for established normal farming, ranching, and silviculture activities (33 U.S.C. 1344(f)) are not adjacent.

(ii) Neighboring. The term neighboring means:

(A) All waters located within 100 feet of the ordinary high water mark of a water identified in paragraphs (1)(i) through (v) of this definition. The entire water is neighboring if a portion is located within 100 feet of the ordinary high water mark;

(B) All waters located within the 100-year floodplain of a water identified in paragraphs (1)(i) through (v) of this definition and not more than 1,500 feet from the ordinary high water mark of such water. The entire water is neighboring if a portion is located within 1,500 feet of the ordinary high water mark and within the 100-year floodplain;

(C) All waters located within 1,500 feet of the high tide line of a water identified in paragraphs (1)(i) or (1)(iii) of this definition, and all waters within 1,500 feet of the ordinary high water mark of the Great Lakes. The entire water is neighboring if a portion is located within 1,500 feet of the high tide line or within 1,500 feet of the ordinary high water mark of the Great Lakes.

(iii) Tributary and tributaries. The terms tributary and tributaries each mean a water that contributes flow, either directly or through another water (including an impoundment identified in paragraph (1)(iv) of this definition), to a water identified in paragraphs (1)(i) through (iii) of this definition that is characterized by the presence of the physical indicators of a bed and banks and an ordinary high water mark. These physical indicators demonstrate there is volume, frequency, and duration of flow sufficient to create a bed and banks and an ordinary high water mark, and thus to qualify as a tributary. A tributary can be a natural, man-altered, or man-made water and includes waters such as rivers, streams, canals, and ditches not excluded under paragraph (2) of this definition. A water that otherwise qualifies as a tributary under this definition does not lose its status as a tributary if, for any length, there are one or more constructed breaks (such as bridges, culverts, pipes, or dams), or one or more natural breaks (such as wetlands along the run of a stream, debris piles, boulder fields, or a stream that flows underground) so long as a bed and banks and an ordinary high water mark can be identified upstream of the break. A water that otherwise qualifies as a tributary under this definition does not lose its status as a tributary if it contributes flow through a water of the United States that does not meet the definition of tributary or through a non-jurisdictional water to a water identified in paragraphs (1)(i) through (iii) of this definition.

(iv) Wetlands. The term wetlands means those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas.

(v) Significant nexus. The term significant nexus means that a water, including wetlands, either alone or in combination with other similarly situated waters in the region, significantly affects the chemical, physical, or biological integrity of a water identified in paragraphs (1)(i) through (iii) of this definition. The term “in the region” means the watershed that drains to the nearest water identified in paragraphs (1)(i) through (iii) of this definition. For an effect to be significant, it must be more than speculative or insubstantial. Waters are similarly situated when they function alike and are sufficiently close to function together in affecting downstream waters. For purposes of determining whether or not a water has a significant nexus, the water's effect on downstream (1)(i) through (iii) waters shall be assessed by evaluating the aquatic functions identified in paragraphs (3)(v)(A) through (I) of this definition. A water has a significant nexus when any single function or combination of functions performed by the water, alone or together with similarly situated waters in the region, contributes significantly to the chemical, physical, or biological integrity of the nearest water identified in paragraphs (1)(i) through (iii) of this definition. Functions relevant to the significant nexus evaluation are the following:

(A) Sediment trapping,

(B) Nutrient recycling,

(C) Pollutant trapping, transformation, filtering, and transport,

(D) Retention and attenuation of flood waters,

(E) Runoff storage,

(F) Contribution of flow,

(G) Export of organic matter,

(H) Export of food resources, and

(I) Provision of life cycle dependent aquatic habitat (such as foraging, feeding, nesting, breeding, spawning, or use as a nursery area) for species located in a water identified in paragraphs (1)(i) through (iii) of this section.

(vi) Ordinary high water mark. The term ordinary high water mark means that line on the shore established by the fluctuations of water and indicated by physical characteristics such as a clear, natural line impressed on the bank, shelving, changes in the character of soil, destruction of terrestrial vegetation, the presence of litter and debris, or other appropriate means that consider the characteristics of the surrounding areas.

(vii) High tide line. The term high tide line means the line of intersection of the land with the water's surface at the maximum height reached by a rising tide. The high tide line may be determined, in the absence of actual data, by a line of oil or scum along shore objects, a more or less continuous deposit of fine shell or debris on the foreshore or berm, other physical markings or characteristics, vegetation lines, tidal gages, or other suitable means that delineate the general height reached by a rising tide. The line encompasses spring high tides and other high tides that occur with periodic frequency but does not include storm surges in which there is a departure from the normal or predicted reach of the tide due to the piling up of water against a coast by strong winds such as those accompanying a hurricane or other intense storm.

Offshore facility means any facility of any kind located in, on, or under, any of the navigable waters of the United States, and any facility of any kind which is subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and is located in, on, or under any other waters, other than a vessel or a public vessel;

Onshore facility means any facility (including, but not limited to, motor vehicles and rolling stock) of any kind located in, on, or under, any land within the United States other than submerged land;

Otherwise subject to the jurisdiction of the United States means subject to the jurisdiction of the United States by virtue of United States citizenship, United States vessel documentation or numbering, or as provided for by international agreement to which the United States is a party.

A discharge in connection with activities under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act or the Deepwater Port Act of 1974, or which may affect natural resources belonging to, appertaining to, or under the exclusive management authority of the United States (including resources under the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976), means: (1) A discharge into any waters beyond the contiguous zone from any vessel or onshore or offshore facility, which vessel or facility is subject to or is engaged in activities under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act or the Deepwater Port Act of 1974, and (2) any discharge into any waters beyond the contiguous zone which contain, cover, or support any natural resource belonging to, appertaining to, or under the exclusive management authority of the United States (including resources under the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976).

Public vessel means a vessel owned or bareboat-chartered and operated by the United States, or a State or political subdivision thereof, or by a foreign nation, except when such vessel is engaged in commerce.

Territorial seas means the belt of the seas measured from the line of ordinary low water along that portion of the coast which is in direct contact with the open sea and the line marking the seaward limit of inland waters, and extending seaward a distance of 3 miles.

Vessel means every description of watercraft or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water other than a public vessel;

[43 FR 10474, Mar. 13, 1978; 43 FR 27533, June 26, 1978, as amended at 44 FR 10266, Feb. 16, 1979; 58 FR 45039, Aug. 25, 1993; 80 FR 37110, June 29, 2015]

This is a list of United States Code sections, Statutes at Large, Public Laws, and Presidential Documents, which provide rulemaking authority for this CFR Part.

This list is taken from the Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules provided by GPO [Government Printing Office].

It is not guaranteed to be accurate or up-to-date, though we do refresh the database weekly. More limitations on accuracy are described at the GPO site.


United States Code
U.S. Code: Title 33 - NAVIGATION AND NAVIGABLE WATERS
Presidential Documents

Executive Order ... 11735