Water Quality & Discharges
Practice Areas
Water Quality & Discharges

Water Quality & Discharges

Our attorneys apply decades of hands-on experience in water permitting matters to assist clients through compliance issues. We don’t just know what the regulations say, we know how the regulators apply them and where there is “room” for approaches that most benefit our clients. Firm attorneys also bring technical backgrounds to enhance their communications with regulators at the local, state and federal levels. We have helped both direct dischargers (NPDES permits) and indirect industrial dischargers navigate through the water quality standards, discharge limitations and pretreatment programs to achieve and maintain compliance. Our attorneys also benefit from experience representing publicly-owned treatment works (POTWs) which regulate industrial dischargers, so we have experience from both sides of the “aisle.”

Our experience spans a broad range of water issues covering every major aspect of the Clean Water Act (CWA). We help our clients identify the best-suited, creative approaches to wastewater, water quality and drinking water problems, as well as forewarning them of evolving water issues that may affect their operations. Our broad practice includes regulatory counseling, litigation, arbitrations, and enforcement defense .

Our lawyers offer a wide range of environmental capabilities, including:

  • Compliance counseling
  • Permit negotiations, appeals, and enforcement
  • Addressing discharge restrictions to state impaired waters
  • Anti-degradation and anti-backsliding issues
  • Water quality standards and variances
  • Whole effluent toxicity and toxicity reduction evaluations
  • Analysis and preparation of comments on new regulations
  • Wetlands evaluations, permitting, and enforcement
  • Storm water permitting and enforcement
  • New facility operations, expansions and modifications
  • Drinking water standards

Recent matters handled by our lawyers include:

  • Obtained an early, voluntary dismissal of a metal plating client in a West Virginia federal court action related to alleged PFAS wastewater discharges.
  • Successful defense of a manufacturing client against a civil suit by U.S. EPA Region II involving alleged violations of federal categorical discharge standards.
  • Resolved civil and criminal alleged violations Clean Water Action sections 401 and 404 for discharging pollutants/fill material into an alleged “water of the United States” in Illinois, New York, Alabama and Michigan.
  • Prepared antidegradation assessments under the Illinois water pollution regulations for two Illinois chemical plants in Illinois subject to OCPSF effluent limitation guidelines.
  • Represented chemical company client in enforcement proceeding with the City of Pueblo POTW related to sulfate limit exceedances and cease and desist order.
  • Counsel client on findings of  wetlands desktop study and issues related to exemption of stormwater control systems from wetlands regulations.
  • Represented various clients in cases challenging the reach of the Clean Water Act over wetlands, including providing assistance in seminal cases in the Supreme Court and Appellate Courta in Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Rapanos v. United States.
  • Successfully defended client in a U.S. EPA enforcement action regarding alleged applicability of  Federal Response Plan requirements due to alleged potential to discharge to “sensitive wetland area” in the event of a facility release.
  • Assisting clients in obtaining and complying with dredge and fill permits under section 404 of the Clean Water Act.
  • Successfully negotiated a federal and state Consent Decree for an Indiana municipality to resolve alleged, multi-year sanitary sewer overflows (SSO) violations, including a substantially reduced civil monetary penalty, an acceptable sewer design and construction project, an extended compliance schedule to meet the client’s financial resources, and the development of an acceptable CMOM program. We also defeated in federal district court a third -party’s attempt to challenge the proposed Consent Decree.
  • Defended Indiana client in a stormwater discharge violation enforcement matter arising from a State of Indiana (IDEM) inspection.
  • Assisted chemical company in management of flooding and stormwater-related discharges at its Illinois facility resulting from an adjacent property development project.

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