WATER

We represent private companies and public entities in all manner of water and
water-related transactions and litigation, from water rights to utilities to desalination,
including all of the related financing, transactional, environmental, regulatory and
litigation issues.

  • Water Industry Experience

    Environmental Matters

    • Represented clients with respect to federal, state and local environmental agency enforcement actions.
    • Negotiated various consent decrees and consent orders with federal and state agencies regarding alleged violations of federal and state water-related statutes and regulations.
    • Represented clients regarding permitting and operation of onsite treatment plants for groundwater remediation of volatile organic compounds and defense of third party liability lawsuits for groundwater contamination.
    • Advised and counseled clients on filing and prosecution of applications for technologies, including reverse osmosis, electrodeionization, evaporation and zero-liquid discharge.
    • Represented a client in a federal criminal jury trial for alleged felony violations of the Clean Water Act and false statements. The jury acquitted the client of all charges.
    • Defended a client in criminal action regarding alleged criminally negligent operation of a water treatment facility, resulting in Pretrial Intervention and Expungement of Charges.
    • Litigated issues regarding treatment and discharge of wastewater; stream, river, and natural water way diversion; stormwater control; farm water rights; sewage; water wells; and water contamination.
    • Provided counseling on intellectual property procurement for water use in the energy field, including the treatment of produced water from fracking and steam-assisted gravity drainage operations.
    • Assisting in developing legislation regarding building permits and negotiated with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on regulatory changes.
    • Evaluated client business operations for compliance with environmental law regarding handling and recycling of wastewater from Marcellus Shale gas production facilities.

    Real Estate Development

    • Represented a municipal sewer authority in negotiations with state and local regulators and numerous neighboring municipalities regarding compliance with Clean Water Act mandates concerning sanitary sewer overflows and combined sewer overflows and the development of a sewer assessment program.
    • Advised a municipal water and sewer authority in connection with matters related to the Municipal Authorities Act and the implementation of and compliance with the requirements of the Consent Orders and were responsible for the client’s federally mandated municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) program.
    • Represented numerous municipalities and municipal authorities in litigation concerning right-of-way issues and easement matters relating to sewer lines and facilities.
    • Served as special counsel to several municipal entities with respect to environmental and land use matters.
    • Developed a stormwater management program and drafted comprehensive amendments to the city code, zoning code and building code, as well as amended and restating the City Planning Commission’s Subdivision Regulations for the first time in over 25 years in order to comply with the federally mandated MS4 regulations.
    • Represented a municipal water and sewer authority during the negotiation process with the EPA, the DEP and the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) and arrived at a municipal consensus consent order (Consent Orders) with regard to the region’s current sewage infrastructure challenges.

    Water Rights

    • Represented clients in water rights disputes with a local water district.
    • Assisted clients with numerous water sale transaction disputes.
    • Analyzed the nature and priority of riparian, overlying, appropriative or prescriptive water rights that private water clients apply to reasonable and beneficial use.
    • Negotiated and documented the purchase, sale and lease of groundwater and adjudicated groundwater rights.
    • Negotiated and documented the purchase and sale of real property for acquiring associated water rights.

    Commercial Agreements

    • The Water Law practice group has negotiated and drafted a broad array of agreements regarding:
      • Desalination facilities, including agreements regarding the purchase of desalinated seawater, development agreements regarding conveyance facilities for desalinated seawater, water delivery agreements, etc.
      • The manufacture and sale of membranes and spiral-wound elements for use in desalination facilities.
      • The purchase, sale or lease of adjudicated groundwater rights, privately owned water systems, shares in mutual water companies and public/private partnerships for municipal water systems.
      • Water transfer and exchange and the treatment of contaminated groundwater.
      • Acquisition, disposition and lease of privately owned or municipal water systems.
      • Acquisition, disposition and lease of shares in mutual water companies.
      • Public/private partnerships for the sale, lease, operation and management of municipal water systems.
    • An attorney in the practice group served as special counsel to the City of Carlsbad, Calif. since 2002 to assist the city and the Carlsbad Municipal Water District in negotiating land use and water purchase agreements, respectively, for the Carlsbad Seawater Desalination Project. When built, that project will produce 50 million gallons per day of desalinated seawater and will be the largest desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere.

    Utility Regulatory Matters

    • Provided due diligence, regulatory consulting and government affairs services in connection with acquisitions and divestitures of major investor-owned water and wastewater companies.
    • Consulted on potential statutory, policy and regulatory changes that impact the water and wastewater industries.
    • Conducted a state-by-state analysis of ratemaking best practices for a national organization representing the interests of water service providers.
    • Identified potential business development opportunities for water industry clients, including potential acquisitions of small, troubled water companies or private-public partnerships.
    • Represented investor-owned water utilities in state public utility commission litigation matters.
    • Assisted water industry clients in obtaining various regulatory approvals.
    • Assisted a municipal wastewater authority in converting a utility regulatory rate proceeding into an application for an acquisition of additional authority customers.

    Labor & Employment Matters

    • Represented water industry clients with labor and employment issues, including labor negotiations, employment litigation and general human resources advice and counsel.
    • Provided immigration services for the largest investor-owned U.S. water and wastewater utility company.

    Intellectual Property

    • Drafted and procured patents for water purification technologies, including ion exchange, electrodeionization, zero liquid discharge, reverse osmosis and ultrafiltration.
    • Counseled clients on patent enforcement issues related to water purification.

    Tax-Exempt Bond Financing

    • Served as Underwriter’s Counsel for a municipal water authority for Remarketing of Variable Rate Water Revenue Bonds.
    • Served as Underwriter’s Counsel for municipal water authorities for Water and Sewer Revenue Bonds and for Water and Sewer System First Lien Revenue Refunding Bonds.
    • Served as Bond Counsel and as Letter of Credit Bank Counsel for water and sewer authorities for Water and Sewer System First Lien Revenue Refunding Bonds.
    • Served as Bond Counsel for a water authority for Rural Water Projects Revenue Notes.
    • Served as Liquidity Provider Counsel and Bank Counsel for economic development financing authorities for Exempt Facilities Revenue Bonds for a water company system.
    • Served as Bank Counsel for Guaranteed Notes for a sewer system project and for a water system project.
    • Served as Underwriter’s Counsel for a city for Pennsylvania Water and Wastewater Revenue Refunding Bonds.
    • Served as Authority Counsel for a water and sewer authority for Water & Sewer System Revenue Bonds.