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Beveridge & Diamond Secures Approval of $3.7 Billion Clean Water Act Consent Decree

Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., January 22, 2014

Litigators from Beveridge & Diamond’s Washington and Baltimore offices won approval of a major Clean Water Act consent decree over the objections of environmental groups.  On January 6, 2014 Judge George Marovich of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois entered a historic consent decree between the United States, Illinois, and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRDGC or the District) to govern the ongoing Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP), a multi-billion dollar project to improve stormwater control and wastewater management throughout metropolitan Chicago.   The ruling comes after 7 years of consent decree negotiation with the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Justice, and the State of Illinois, and 3 years of aggressive litigation brought by several environmental groups that sought more work than called for in the decree. Benjamin F. Wilson, Richard Davis and Sarah Albert lead the multi-office team from Beveridge & Diamond that represents MWRDGC regarding the consent decree and the litigation. 

The court adopted the District’s legal and factual arguments and rejected every challenge mounted by the environmental groups, which were represented by large Chicago law firms.

In a January 13 press statement, MWRDGC Executive Director David St. Pierre said of the ruling, “This is a great day for our constituents as we can move forward on many initiatives that have been held in check because of pending litigation. These include green infrastructure, storm controls and a comprehensive evaluation of the District’s real estate portfolio.”

“All of us at Beveridge & Diamond congratulate the Metropolitan Water District on this great result.  We are proud to have been a part of their team, and we look forward to supporting the District’s ongoing efforts to deliver outstanding service to the citizens of the Chicago area,” said Benjamin F. Wilson, Beveridge & Diamond’s Managing Principal.

The case is United States v. Metro. Water Reclamation Dist., N.D. Ill., No 1:11 CV 8859, 1/6/14

Beveridge & Diamond represents a number of municipal and regional water systems nationwide on stormwater and wastewater matters, as well as other Clean Water Act enforcement and permitting issues.  For example, the Firm recently assisted the San Antonio Water System in finalizing a consent decree involving its $1 billion sewer system project. It also recently helped fashion a unique 6-community regional solution for combined sewer overflows for the Capital District of New York State (the Albany region).

Beveridge & Diamond’s 100 lawyers – including 50 litigators – concentrate their practice on environmental, sustainability, and natural resources law, litigation, and dispute resolution.  Widely recognized as one of the premier environmental law and litigation firms in the U.S.,  the Firm helps clients in diverse industry sectors resolve critical environmental and sustainability issues relating to their facilities, products, and operations around the world.  Learn more at www.bdlaw.com.

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