Water Quality

More often than not, a Western water resource concern or issue involves a relevant water quality standard or requirement. From drinking water standards for public water systems, to stream and lake standards for fish and other aquatic life, to groundwater protection—meeting federal and state water quality obligations ensures not only compliance with the law, but healthy people, livestock, wildlife, and a healthy environment.

Our team offers our clients expertise in navigating the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and their companion and complementary state laws, including groundwater quality protection laws and actions related to groundwater remediation. We have a deep understanding of the water quality regulatory environment and offer important insight into the intersection of Western water supply interests, water quality needs, and ecosystem services. We assist clients with strategic advice, permitting, compliance and enforcement actions. We also monitor and participate in notice and comment rulemaking and offer government relations services, particularly agency relations.

Representative Experience

  • Interpretation, administration, enforcement, and enforcement defense related to the federal Clean Water Act and associated regulations.
  • Expertise in the law and policy aspects of state and federal surface water quality standard development, approval, and implementation.
  • Clean Water Act permitting and compliance for point source and stormwater discharges and municipal wastewater treatment facilities.
  • Advising a municipality on the Clean Water Act and CERCLA issues related to an innovative water rights transaction involving an inactive hard rock gold mine in Colorado.
  • Advising clients on the potential impacts to the NPDES permitting and enforcement programs resulting from the 9th Circuit and Supreme Court litigation in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, which holds that discharges to groundwater may require Clean Water Act permits.
  • Advising clients on the status of federal regulations defining "waters of the United States" for Clean Water Act jurisdictional purposes, and related litigation.
  • Advising a municipal wastewater utility regarding the addition of a compliance schedule in its NPDES permit.
  • Successful management of a municipal environmental regulatory affairs program created to address the impact of legacy hard rock mining on municipal water supply, surface waters, and soil.
  • Interpretation, administration, and enforcement of laws and regulations under the Safe Drinking Water Act, including Safe Drinking Water Act compliance for public water systems and the Underground Injection Control program.
  • Administration, permitting, and enforcement under state groundwater quality laws and regulations, including Arizona’s Aquifer Protection Program.
  • Advising on basin-scale salinity control projects in the Colorado River Basin.
  • Development of strategies for international management of water quality and salinity on the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • Negotiations related to management of water quality concerns and continued water supply for the Cienega de Santa Clara, an internationally-important wetland.
  • Development of proposed rules under Clean Water Act regulating near-stream recharge of municipal effluent.