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Water Law

We advise on the reporting obligations for stormwater permits in California: municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) permits, the California Industrial General Storm Water Permit (IGP), and the California Construction General Storm Water Permit (CGP).

In relation to these permits, we:

  • Prosecute test claims before the Commission on State Mandates, seeking
    reimbursement for compliance costs;
  • Defend against allegations that stormwater discharges contributed to soil and groundwater contamination;
  • Advise on the development of stormwater pollution prevention plans (SWPPPs);
  • Retain and supervise consultants to develop and revise compliance
    documents; and
  • Help develop legal and technical responses to allegations that sampling results from an industrial facility exceed “benchmarks.”

Meyers Nave attorneys have experience with many types of contaminated sites with groundwater issues, from landfills to wastewater facilities to former lumber mills and industrial facilities, and in particular with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. We have litigated liability issues for groundwater contamination damages and cleanup under state and federal statutes as well as common law theories.

Our expertise includes:

  • NPDES/WDR Permitting
  • Basin Plans/TMDLs
  • “Waters of the United States” Jurisdiction
  • Stormwater
  • Groundwater Contamination/Toxic Tort Defense
  • Citizen Suit Defense
  • Enforcement Defense
  • Wetlands/404 (Permitting, Delineations, Species-related, 404(b) Development, Enforcement Defense, Mitigation, Banking)
  • Streambed Alteration Permits
  • Safe Drinking Water Act
  • Recycled Water
  • Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures Plans (SPCC)
  • Oil Pollution Act
  • BCDC

Representative Matters

  • Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power: CEQA and Water Rights Issues. We have represented the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) in litigation and transactional matters regarding recycled water, environmental permitting compliance and water rights on numerous projects. For example, we are counseling LADWP regarding its project to use 30,000 acre feet annually of recycled water to replenish the San Fernando Basin along with several other projects in the City’s recycled water master plan. We were litigation counsel in a lawsuit related to the Department’s water rights on Mammoth Creek and the Owens River and proposed actions by the Mammoth Community Services District that could affect those rights.
  • C/CAG and Alameda Countywide Clean Water Program: Stormwater
    Unfunded Mandates. We represent the City/County Association of Governments (C/CAG) of San Mateo County and the Alameda Countywide Clean Water Program as amicus curiae in the County of Los Angeles’ appeal pending before the California Supreme Court concerning the right of local agencies to obtain reimbursement for unfunded mandates imposed by the state in regional MS4 permits. We also represent member agencies of those organizations in test claim proceedings before the Commission on State Mandates seeking reimbursement for unfunded storm water mandates.
  • Irvine Ranch Water District v. Orange County Water District: Groundwater Pumping Dispute. We represent three groundwater pumpers in litigation initiated by a competing groundwater producer challenging the Orange County Water District’s administration of an unadjudicated basin. The plaintiff seeks relief that would alter the way recycled water use is considered in determining replenishment assessments on all groundwater producers in the basin to the detriment of most other producers, and also challenges the Orange County Water District’s right to regulate exports of groundwater from the basin. Our three clients support the current method of regulating the basin and intervened to oppose the relief sought by the plaintiff.
  • Town of Windsor: Russian River Water Rights and Agreements. We represent the Town of Windsor in acquiring appropriative water rights and re-negotiating the town’s water supply contract with Sonoma County Water Agency. In our role, we address the complex relationship between reservation water set aside by state filings, existing water supply contracts and endangered species biological opinions that affect in-stream flows.
  • Current Meyers Nave Attorney’s Experience Prior to Joining Meyers Nave.  (1) Counseled the City and County of Honolulu on federal lawsuits involving the upgrade of Honolulu’s wastewater treatment and collection systems and the validity of the City’s waivers from the CWA’s secondary treatment requirements, included the negotiation of a multi-decade federal consent decree, an administrative petition seeking review of a permit waiver decision before the Environmental Appeals Board, and a lawsuit against the EPA seeking production of documents under FOIA, (2) Counseled a petroleum company regarding contamination stemming from chlorinated solvents and waste oil activities, scope of allowable discharges under NPDES permit for groundwater extraction systems, and scope of permissible discharges related to construction activities under a stormwater permit; negotiated permit terms in light of current and planned business activities, (3) Counseled the City of Oakland regarding changes to its NPDES permit and subsequent petition to the State Water Board seeking review of the terms of the permit, included a federal lawsuit brought by the EPA and a non-government organization based on alleged discharge violations from the City’s collection system; negotiated a favorable injunctive remedy in a federal action and a penalty in a related state administrative action and (4) Advised a manufacturer regarding its and predecessors’ alleged historical discharge of chlorinated solvents and other wastes. Worked with technical consultant in negotiations with the Water Board to develop an investigation and remediation plan.