McKenna Long & Aldridge (MLA) has three decades of experience with federal, state and local water supply and water quality protection regulations. Our attorneys have expertise in representing companies as well as state and local government agencies in a wide variety of regulatory and litigation matters and business transactions centered on water resources including:
- Water Supply Permitting / Water Rights;
- Water Quality Protection - Wastewater and Stormwater;
- Water Quality Protection - Wetlands; and
- Water Quality Protection - Coastal Marshlands and Shore Protection.
We regularly assist clients in acquiring water rights for a wide variety of beneficial uses. We represent the State of Georgia in negotiations and litigation with the States of Florida and Alabama, the United States, and a variety of stakeholders over the allocation of the waters from two major river basins. The “Tri-State Water Wars,” as they are sometime referred to in the media, are among the most important water cases pending in the United States.
On a smaller scale, our attorneys counsel local government water providers in issues relating to permitting, finance, contracting, and operation of their water systems. We assist developers and other businesses in obtaining and protecting water rights and permits. With offices on both the east coast and the west coast, our firm is well situated to handle matters at the federal, state, and local levels throughout the country.
MLA’s Water Quality Protection Practice includes matters concerning Industrial Wastewater, Industrial and Construction Stormwater, Erosion and Sedimentation, and the Clean Water Act (CWA). We provide effective counseling and representation to clients to address the challenges posed by the nation’s clean water laws, including:
- Strategic planning to reduce or eliminate regulatory requirements;
- Assistance in the permitting process;
- Development of pollution prevention plans;
- Defense or challenges to permits; and
- Defense of enforcement actions and civil suits.
Our attorneys are experienced in a broad range of water quality issues, from compliance and permitting to litigation and federal and state enforcement actions. We assist clients in determining regulatory requirements, obtaining permits, and defending enforcement actions under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which involves discharges of dredged and fill material into wetlands. Our knowledge of this evolving area of law and experience with the Corps of Engineers and EPA make us well qualified to provide counsel in the most complex matters relating to wetlands.
MLA attorneys also have extensive experience with coastal water protection laws, most notably the Georgia’s Coastal Marshlands Protection Act and Shore Protection Act. We have successfully assisted some of Georgia’s most prominent landowners and developers in permitting and rulemaking proceedings and defended enforcement actions under these statutes.
- Representation of State of Georgia in interstate water disputes with Alabama, Florida, and the U.S. in various federal courts (including U.S. Courts of Appeals and petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court) and mediation.
- Representation of county Water Authority in litigation concerning property rights in Water Authority reservoir and in other contractual and regulatory issues relating to the Water Authority's water system.
- Representation of coastal developer in enforcement action brought by U.S. EPA and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources concerning alleged violations of the Clean Water Act and the Coastal Marshlands Protection Act.
- Representation of County in acquisition of water and wastewater facilities and in permitting, regulatory, and intergovernmental relations issues related to new water and sewer system.
- Representation of major coastal developer as amicus curiae in Supreme Court of Georgia on significant issue of first impression regarding jurisdictional reach of the Coastal Marshlands Protection Act.
- Representation of a residential developer in EPA enforcement action relating to storm water discharges.
- Counseling of owners and operators of privately-owned wastewater treatment systems on issues of regulatory compliance and enforcement.
- Counseling of municipalities on Clean Water Act regulatory issues associated with privatization of wastewater system facilities.
- Provided strategic advice and planning to major shopping center developer on wetlands permits and potential challenges.
- Successfully defended wetlands permits issued to Alabama municipality for water intake and transmission facilities.
- Represented a wetlands mitigation banking company in negotiations with Army Corps of Engineers.
- Advised a major national developer of apartment buildings regarding building strategies to minimize storm water discharges, erosion and sedimentation.
- Counseled various clients on development options that minimize and simplify wetlands permitting requirements.
- Assisted in preparation of storm water pollution prevention plans for industrial facilities, including carpet manufacturing facilities, merchant power plants, and construction sites.