Beveridge & Diamond
 

Beveridge & Diamond Helps City of Albany and Adjoining Communities Forge Successful Plan to Improve Hudson River Water Quality

Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., February 4, 2014

A team of lawyers from Beveridge & Diamond’s Washington, DC and New York offices represented the Albany Pool Communities (APC) in negotiating a consent decree with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to implement a 15-year, 53-project, $136 million stormwater infrastructure improvement and combined sewer overflow (CSO) management plan.   APC consists of six communities in the Capital Region of New York, including the City of Albany’s Water Board, the City of Cohoes, the City of Rensselaer, the City of Troy, the City of Watervliet, and the Village of Green Island. 

Under the consent order, APC, along with the Albany County and Rensselaer Country sewer districts, will upgrade their systems and complete green infrastructure projects to reduce CSOs into the Hudson River.  These projects will bring APC and the sewer districts into compliance with New York State water quality standards and federal Clean Water Act requirements. 

Through our representation and based on expert analysis by the APC’s consultant team (which was led by Clough Harbour & Associates, and included CDM-Smith and ARCADIS (formerly Malcolm Pirnie)), APC scientifically justified a CSO plan that was tailored to meet the applicable water quality standards.  Moreover, by developing a regional framework within which the communities could place projects where they would do the most good for the rivers, the Plan allows the communities to achieve full compliance at a cost that is roughly 1/10th of that of CSO programs for similarly-sized communities acting alone.  This exciting result was made possible by the Firm’s creation of an inter-municipal group capable of coordinating and executing 53 projects region-wide over a 15 year period.  The integrated plan also enables  APC to pursue grant and loan support as a single entity instead of as six competitors. 

In a press statement about the decree, Assemblyman John McDonald said, “Since 2004, the Albany Pool communities have worked closely and collaboratively with the DEC to address the generations old challenge of combined sewer overflows. As a former mayor and the Assembly member who now represents the Albany Pool communities, I know firsthand the amount of effort that went into this Long Term Control Plan and I commend all of the parties involved for agreeing to a plan that improves the water quality of the Hudson River while at the same time implementing a plan that is sensitive to the ratepayers. This collaboration amongst these communities and the DEC is a model for future collaborative efforts of local governments and state agencies and is an effort that all should be proud to have been a part of.”

The agreement also garnered praise from environmental organizations.  Paul Gallay, president of the Hudson Riverkeeper, said “When these waters are fishable and swimmable again, we will look back on this agreement as the turning point. Congratulations to DEC and the Albany area communities for putting us on the right track to a clean Upper Hudson.”

Beveridge & Diamond’s team included Richard Davis and Benjamin F. Wilson of the Firm’s Washington, DC office, and Steve Gordon and John Paul of the Firm’s New York office.

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.  The APC consent decree marks the third time in less than one year that Beveridge & Diamond’s Clean Water Act team has secured a favorable result for a major U.S. municipality or water district.  In July 2013, the Firm assisted the San Antonio Water System in finalizing a consent decree involving its $1 billion sewer system project, and, in January 2014, Beveridge & Diamond secured judicial approval the  $3.7 billion Clean Water Act “Deep Tunnel” project that the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago has been diligently constructing since 1975.

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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