Clean Water Act Permitting, Counseling & Enforcement Defense




Our attorneys advise clients on permitting, regulatory compliance, and defense of enforcement suits brought by federal, state, and citizen groups. Our team works closely with state regulators to assist clients with legislative and regulatory initiatives on Clean Water Act issues and standards. We also work closely with technical consultants retained by clients to obtain reasonable permits and ensure compliance, and to defend permits against third-party challenges in state and federal court. Additionally, we advise clients on applying for and obtaining wastewater discharge and construction permits.


Our attorneys work with clients to ensure permit applications are complete and provide all relevant information to obtain the best possible permit conditions. Once the applications are filed, we assist clients working with state regulators through negotiating permit terms and conditions. Our attorneys also are ready to challenge permits for clients responding to unreasonable permit conditions imposed by state permitting agencies.


We assist clients and their technical consultants preparing applications and alternative analyses to satisfy the EPA’s Section 404(b) guidelines, which require a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers before any project discharging dredged or fill material into water. Our attorneys also assist in obtaining necessary certifications from states that a permit issued by the Army Corps of Engineers under Section 404 would not result in violation of water quality standards.


We represent municipalities and sewer districts addressing unpermitted wet weather overflows, NPDES permitting issues for municipal wastewater treatment plans, and developing local ordinances and regulations concerning industrial and stormwater inflows. Municipalities and sanitary sewer districts own and operate extensive sewer systems for the collection, conveyance, and treatment of sanitary waste, industrial wastewater, and stormwater, and our attorneys’ collective experience enables clients to navigate the unique regulatory requirements for these systems. Our work also includes negotiating wet weather consent decrees at state and federal levels, defending against Clean Water Act citizen suits, and responding to alleged NPDES permit limit exceedances. We also assist municipalities and sewer districts on regulatory development issues affecting sanitary and storm sewer systems.


We assist industrial and municipal clients in evaluating water-quality and technology-based standards and reporting obligations. We also make them aware of compliance obligations under additional state and federal programs related to water quality impacts, such as spill prevention, control, and countermeasure plan requirements and state programs focused on controlling water pollution from construction and development. Our attorneys also assist clients in auditing compliance with federal and state Clean Water Act-related programs and requirements, and we work closely with state regulators to determine the best way to ensure compliance. 


Our attorneys represent industrial, municipal, and agricultural clients in various enforcement actions alleging non-compliance with NPDES and other permits. We assist clients in evaluating claims and responding to notices of violation and, as appropriate, determining appropriate remedial measures. We negotiate federal and state settlement orders for alleged permit and other regulatory violations. We also defend clients against citizen suit claims under the Clean Water Act for alleged permit limit violations as well as allegations of discharges without a required NPDES permit. 


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