Areas of Practice

Across the spectrum of environmental law, we offer advice and representation with practical, results-oriented lawyering in the following practice areas...
Category: Areas of Practice

DEP’S Division of Water Pollution Control in its Bureau of Waste Prevention regulate industrial and other discharges to surface water bodies, as well as discharges to groundwater, large and small septic systems, and industrial sites.  G.L. c.21, §§26-53. The Division may enter, inspect and sample sources, issue enforcement orders, suspend or revoke permits, levy administrative penalties, and seek criminal penalties, civil fines, or injunctive relief.

A permit water pollution permit may be needed for any activities that foreseeably may result, directly or indirectly, in discharge of pollutants into surface or groundwaters, including stormwater drainage from industrial, commercial, residential, municipal and agricultural sites. Some of these permissions take the form of automatic permits-by-rule (for eligible activities meeting specifications). Others need comprehensive and complex permit application, technical submittals, and public hearings.

EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and state waste discharge permitting includes both technology-based specifications and basic water quality standards. Our clients need help with discharge permits and renewals, environmental and public interest group opposition, reporting and abatement obligations, and enforcement about permit noncompliance or unlawful releases. These might be paperwork violations or actual releases to the environment putting the receiving waters, wildlife, infrastructure, and the public at risk.

These programs, in addition to direct discharge requirements, require pretreatment for waste sent to Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW). These may be operated by cities, towns, counties or their special districts, or state authorities like the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA).

Besides the federal and state pretreatment obligations, these POTW have their own rules and regulations with some very detailed design specifications, performance standards, monitoring obligations, and sanction including civil and criminal fines.

Our clients need help working out disputes, mostly with cities and towns and the MWRA, and negotiating abatement measures, compliance assurances, and lower penalties.

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