Wastewater Treatment Regulatory and Litigation
DC Water. We assist DC Water at the midpoint of implementation of an approved combined sewage overflow (CSO) Long-Term Control Plan (LTCP) that will yield compliance with existing water quality standards
WSSC. B&D defended WSSC in a CWA citizen suit alleging unlawful discharges of pollutants from WSSC’s Potomac Water Filtration Plant. We resolved litigation through a consent decree entered in April 2016 that provided WSSC with certainty regarding material terms of its first new NPDES permit since 1997 and a 10-year schedule for improvements to the Plant. We currently represent WSSC with respect to consent decree implementation.
New Bedford, MA. B&D worked with the municipality to address obligations under multiple CWA programs consistent with an Integrated Plan, which will prioritize expenditures for CSOs, POTW upgrade for nitrogen removal, infrastructure protection, and MS4 compliance. We worked with EPA Region 1 to develop cost effective alternatives to numeric nitrogen limitation, including optimization of existing POTW, selective targeting of high rate nutrient and BOD sources, and development of local limits that effectively control nitrogen loading of POTW without reliance on nitrogen limitation in POTW’s NPDES permit.
Coalition of 17 large industrial and municipal clients. We obtained the voluntary withdrawal of a TMDL for a major, multi-jurisdictional waterbody on behalf of the coalition. The TMDL, developed by an EPA region, relied upon a flawed model and incomplete data to set unrealistic (and probably unnecessary) goals for nutrient reductions.
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRDGC). Defended MWRDGC from claims by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, and other citizens groups that narrative water quality standards incorporated into the District’s NPDES permits should be converted into numeric effluent limitations in court rather than through rulemaking and the permitting process.
National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA). B&D developed and helped implement an advocacy strategy and white paper that ultimately led to EPA rejecting on all NACWA-asserted grounds an NGO petition to establish effluent limits for nutrients as part of the CWA’s secondary treatment program for POTWs.
Decommissioned POTW. B&D helped negotiate an Administrative Order with Region 6 EPA for a long-time decommissioned POTW operation that had storm water surges leading to nutrient and other permit exceedance.
Albany Pool Communities. B&D secured a CSO consent decree covering a group of 6 municipalities who banded together because a collective solution was more cost effective than individual CSO LTCPs. We developed and implemented a governance structure, including a Local Development Corporation and a series of Inter Municipal Agreements that allowed communities to govern themselves, contract for and manage work required by their plan, and apportion costs according to an agreed formula. The solution received praise by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Riverkeeper.
San Antonio Water System. B&D secured a $1 billion, 12-year sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) consent decree involving various SSO reduction measures including focused inspection, cleaning and testing of pipe in the sewer collection system and targeted capital programs focused on SSOs caused by verified condition and capacity issues.
City of Rye, New York. B&D represented the City in a citizen suit concerning alleged sewer overflows from systems owned by Rye, 10 other municipalities, and Westchester County. Assisted the parties in organizing and preparing the framework of specific court-ordered stipulations that govern the parties’ studies and planning to improve their systems. Based on the successful adoption of the stipulations, the parties are performing system-wide studies to target cost-effective improvements, while avoiding the costs and distractions of active litigation.
We represented the City of Los Angeles, striking down a biosolids ban on two constitutional grounds. Following a two-week bench trial, the California Superior Court struck down a voter initiative passed in 2006 that banned the land application of biosolids to farmland. The case is believed to be the first trial focused on the benefits and safety of recycling biosolids to farmland, a practice that has been used by many of America’s largest cities for decades.
We argued and won case before Washington State Court of Appeals striking down on preemption grounds county ban on land application of biosolids.
- We successfully defended a major U.S. corporation in a wrongful death suit that alleged that biosolids applied on a farm caused toxic emissions that caused the death of a nearby resident.
We represent a national company managing biosolids for America’s largest cities, in a mass tort case alleging nuisance and health impacts from land application of biosolids to farmland.