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Water Quality

Water Quality

Obtaining and Defending Water Quality Permits for Industrial and Municipal Users

We help wastewater dischargers obtain and protect their discharge permits. Our clients include major industrial and municipal wastewater facilities, agricultural businesses, energy suppliers, developers, and local governments. We help clients navigate federal, state, and local water quality laws and regulations that govern discharges to surface water and groundwater under the Clean Water Act. We assist clients in working with state and federal agencies to obtain permits, negotiate applicable water quality standards and permit requirements, and resolve regulatory enforcement matters so that operations can proceed uninterrupted.

We Handle Permit Challenges, Citizen Suits, Administrative Proceedings, and Litigation

Where disputes cannot be resolved informally, we represent our clients in contested administrative proceedings, and in court. Our attorneys have handled high profile permit challenges, including the defense of Clean Water Act Section 402 permits issued for oil and gas production, commercial and residential construction and development, and industrial operations, Clean Water Act Section 404 permits issued for residential development, and Clean Water Act Section 401 permits issued for oil and gas production and the expansion of an airport. Our attorneys also regularly defend clients in administrative and citizen suit enforcement actions.

Experience

  • Administrative Enforcement Actions
  • Appeals and Variances
  • Clean Water Act Sections 303(d), 316(a), 401, 402, and 404 Permitting
  • Clean Water Act Citizen Suits
  • Compliance Counseling
  • Wetlands Permitting and Mitigation
  • Water Quality and Wetlands Litigation
  • NPDES Permitting
  • Regulatory Development
  • Stormwater Management

Representative Water Quality Matters

Clean Water Act NPDES Litigation

Represent oil and gas companies in an appeal of the general NPDES permit for Cook Inlet, Alaska, production facilities, pending before the Ninth Circuit.
Clients have intervened in permit challenge to defend the permit against attack by environmental and fishing interests.
Represented Alaska oil and gas producers in a federal court challenge to an NPDES permit applicable to their operations and a related challenge to the State of Alaska’s 401 certification decision on the permit in administrative proceedings.
Successfully resolved both challenges for clients. This engagement involved separate appeals to the Fifth and Ninth Circuits, and a state court appeal.

Stormwater Litigation Defense

Represent solid waste company on water quality compliance issues and in defending a Clean Water Act citizen “Notice of Intent to Sue” letter claiming violations of Washington’s Industrial Stormwater General Permit.
The claims were resolved favorably without litigation by an innovative agreement to provide compost to environmental projects, fund a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP), and improve stormwater compliance and monitoring.
Represented an international transportation corporation in five inter-related federal lawsuits under the Clean Water Act involving regulatory compliance with Washington’s Industrial Stormwater General Permit.
Successfully settled via consent decree approved by Department of Justice and U.S. District Court. Settlement resulted in agreement to fund Environmental Projects (SEPs) at amounts significantly lower than penalties plaintiffs had claimed and revise operations and permit coverage to better protect water quality.
Defended a national metal fabricator from a Clean Water Act citizen “Notice of Intent to Sue” letter claiming violations of Washington’s Industrial Stormwater General Permit.
The claims were resolved favorably without litigation by an agreement to fund an innovative Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) and improve stormwater compliance and monitoring for metals in stormwater.
Defended client against severe regulatory penalties related to chemical waste accidentally deposited in stormwater facility.
Defense resulted in a reduction in the penalty by hundreds of thousands of dollars and then negotiated a settlement with the regulatory agency that successfully terminated all regulatory action.
Defended a prominent regional lumber mill from a Clean Water Act citizen “Notice of Intent to Sue” letter claiming violations of Washington’s Industrial Stormwater General Permit.
The claims were resolved favorably without litigation by an agreement to fund a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) and improve stormwater compliance and monitoring for turbidity and metals in stormwater.
Defended a national food and agriculture producer from a Clean Water Act citizen “Notice of Intent to Sue” letter claiming violations of Washington’s Industrial Stormwater General Permit.
The claims were resolved favorably without litigation by an agreement to fund a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) and improve stormwater compliance and monitoring.
Defended window manufacturer from Clean Water Act citizen “Notice of Intent to Sue” letter claiming violations of Washington’s Industrial Stormwater General Permit.
The claims were resolved favorably without litigation by an agreement to fund a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) and improve stormwater compliance and monitoring.
Defended a seafood processor and distributor from a Clean Water Act citizen “Notice of Intent to Sue” letter claiming violations of Washington’s Industrial Stormwater General Permit.
The claims were resolved favorably without litigation by an agreement to fund a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) and improve stormwater compliance and monitoring.

Water Quality and Wetlands Permit Compliance

Advise oil terminal operator on Clean Water Act requirements applicable to redesign of wastewater treatment plant.
Oil terminal is only one of its kind in the nation that treats oily ballast water from vessels that call at the terminal.
Advised a prominent Washington homebuilder on compliance with state and federal stormwater pollution control laws and on revising their real estate contracts to appropriately allocate stormwater pollution control risks.
The contracts were successfully revised to address the homebuilder’s concerns and contractually allocate responsibility for stormwater compliance to parties in the best position to maintain permit compliance.

Wetlands Litigation

Represented prominent Washington developer in a citizen suit under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act involving alleged wetland fills, and then assisted that client in obtaining permits for their private development from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Successful defense of citizen suit followed by approval of permitting for development. Project development moved forward.

Jeff B. Kray Practice Head

Jeff B. Kray

Jeff Kray's practice focuses on water quality, water resources, and complex environmental litigation, including Clean Water Act permitting and regulatory compliance, and CERCLA (Superfund) site remediation. He has represented public and private clients throughout the west. More

Marina Cassio

Marina Cassio

Marina Cassio’s practice focuses on environmental and natural resources litigation, land use permitting, and environmental and product compliance counseling. More

Kevin T. Haroff

Kevin Haroff

Kevin Haroff is the managing partner of the firm’s San Francisco office. He has represented Fortune 100 corporations, governmental entities, and private citizens in civil litigation and regulatory matters for more than 25 years. More

Meline G. MacCurdy

Meline G. MacCurdy

Meli MacCurdy represents clients both in environmental litigation and environmental permitting and review. She has particular experience with brownfield redevelopment. She has defended cases under the Clean Water Act and the state and federal Superfund laws, and is assisting clients in fisheries matters and in issues involving climate change and energy. More

Douglas W. MacDougal

Douglas W. MacDougal

Doug MacDougal has over 30 years of experience in water rights, natural resources, and real estate law. More

Russell C. Prugh

Russell C. Prugh

Russell Prugh's practice focuses on environmental and natural resources litigation, and environmental permitting for facilities and projects in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Russell has particular experience with stormwater compliance issues, and represents clients in litigation arising under the Clean Water Act, CERCLA, MTCA, and other federal and state environmental laws. More

Daniel L. Timmons

Daniel L. Timmons

Daniel Timmons's practice focuses on environmental permitting and compliance, energy, and natural resources litigation. He brings a strong scientific background to his legal work, and has particular experience with water resources allocation and water quality issues. More

Terry T. Uhling

Terry T. Uhling

Terry advises the firm and its clients on strategic and complex matters across the spectrum of issues that affect agribusiness, food processing, mining, water and other natural resources rights. He shares his time among each of the firm’s offices and is located in Sun Valley, Idaho. More

Sarah Wightman

Sarah Wightman

Sarah Wightman’s practice focuses on environmental, natural resources, and land use litigation and compliance, as well as product and environmental counseling. More

Cedar Grove Composting: Permitting and Regulatory Compliance

We have represented Cedar Grove Composting for decades and have helped it grow into one of the largest composters in the United States. We have assisted in the expansion of Cedar Grove’s facilities, handling its regulatory work before State and regional air agencies, and permitting work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Washington State Department of Ecology. More

City of Ephrata: Landfill Investigation and Remediation

The City of Ephrata owned and operated what is now the Grant County landfill from the 1940’s until the 1970’s, when it transferred operations and eventually ownership of the landfill to Grant County. More

Commercial Developer: Citizen Suit Defense

We defended a property owner and developer who was the target of a citizen’s suit alleging violation of the Clean Water Act in connection with the development, permitting, and construction of a large residential development. Defense of the case required coordination with the U.S. More

International Transportation Company: Stormwater Citizen Suit Defense

Marten Law represented an international transportation corporation in five inter-related federal citizen suits under the Clean Water Act (CWA). More

State of Louisiana (Gulf Oil Spill)

The firm acted as Special Counsel to the Attorney General of the State of Louisiana in the Gulf Oil spill litigation. Marten Law was the only out-of-state firm selected to assist the Attorney General. Louisiana was a principal complainant (along with the United States and four other Gulf states) in the largest environmental lawsuit ever brought in the United States. More