Water Quality

As a nation, we have committed to restoring and maintaining the chemical, physical and biological integrity of our waters. This commitment has made water quality the focus of emerging laws, competing interests and a complex web of federal, state and local regulatory restrictions.

Best Best & Krieger LLP is at the vanguard of these water quality issues. We offer our clients a seamless combination of regulatory, legal and water quality advocacy services to address new, novel or particularly complex water quality issues. Our attorneys have advised clients on water quality issues, litigating when necessary, since before the Clean Water Act’s adoption in 1972.

Recognized Authorities
BB&K lawyers are recognized authorities on key water quality questions. We are active in the Environmental Protection Agency’s development of and changes to a new Waters of the United States Rule, and helping to negotiate language in the original Rule to exempt certain ditches, stormwater features and recycled water features from EPA’s jurisdiction. We remain involved in the multiple challenges to the original Rule and efforts to rescind or revise the Rule. BB&K lawyers are working on seminal cases and projects that will help shape the future of the water quality landscape, such as the inter-relationship between the CWA and the Endangered Species Act and integrated approaches to water quality compliance and emerging legal issues, such as the “conduit theory.” Our deep knowledge of water quality laws and our active engagement in emerging issues enables us to offer clients unrivaled water quality representation.
Unmatched Comprehensive Service
BB&K’s multi-disciplinary team has extensive experience in assisting clients in complying with federal, state and local water quality statutes and regulations, including the Clean Water Act and its state law equivalents, and the Safe Drinking Water Act and its state law equivalents. We are also sought after for our skills in specific water quality focus areas, such as transportation projects, and the construction, permitting, operation and maintenance of water treatment and reclamation facilities, as well as small and large water infrastructure projects.
As a recognized authority on water law with decades of experience, we have developed effective working relationships with the federal and state regulators and the nongovernmental entities that closely monitor water quality issues, and we have earned their respect. This benefits clients when they need to get their issues heard.
Comprehensive Service
BB&K water quality lawyers advise and assist public agencies, water districts, utilities and private entities regarding:

  • Compliance with all applicable federal, state and local water quality laws and regulations
  • Enforcement matters, including administrative enforcement and third-party citizen suits
  • Publicly owned treatment works
  • TMDLs
  • Groundwater quality
  • Water quality aspects of the environmental review laws and compliance with wetlands regulations
  • Water treatment and beneficial uses of recycled water, stormwater programs, waste discharge regulations, groundwater nitrate issues and groundwater remediation
  • Sanitation and solid waste management
  • Water storage and distribution, including how the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act and other federal and state laws restrict water supply options
  • Legislative and regulatory advocacy

Our lawyers regularly appear before the federal and state regulators and in state and federal courts on these issues. We advocate for our clients and handle enforcement actions, permit appeals, citizens’ suits and other litigation.

How Can Government Relations Help You?

Environmental, water, telecommunications and transportation projects by both public agencies and businesses can benefit from our advocacy services. Let us help you be heard!

Learn more about BB&K's Government Relations services.

Areas of Focus: Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Municipal Law | Water Quality
Areas of Focus: Air Quality | Renewable Energy | Special Districts | Water Quality
Areas of Focus: Environmental Law & Natural Resources | General & Special Counsel | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Municipal Law | Special Districts | Water
Areas of Focus: Endangered Species | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Government Relations | National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) | Public-Private Partnerships | Water | Water Quality
Areas of Focus: Endangered Species | Environmental Litigation | Municipal Law | Special Districts | Water | Water Quality | Water Rights

John D. Freshman

Senior Director of Governmental Affairs*


(202) 370-5301

Areas of Focus: Air Quality | Endangered Species | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Government Relations | Hazardous Waste | Water
Areas of Focus: Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Environmental Litigation | Municipal Law | Special Districts | Water | Water Rights
Areas of Focus: Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Municipal Law | Special Districts | Water | Water Quality
Areas of Focus: Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Water | Water Quality | Water Rights
Legal Alerts Jun 10, 2021

EPA and Army Corps to Propose Repealing and Replacing the Navigable Waters Protection Rule

Legal Filing Asks Court to Remand 2020 Rule Narrowing Scope of Clean Water Act

Press Releases Apr 21, 2021

Shawn Hagerty Named a San Diego Best Attorney 2021

Annual San Diego Metro Magazine List Includes BB&K Partner

Legal Alerts Dec 10, 2020

EPA Issues Guidance on Groundwater Releases in Wake of Maui v. Hawai’i Wildlife Fund

Clarity Provided for New “Functional Equivalent” Test

Event Sep 21, 2020

IMLA 2020 Annual Conference

International Municipal Lawyers Association

Legal Alerts Jun 05, 2020

EPA Issues Final Rule to Narrow Scope and Timelines for State Water Quality Certifications

Changes to Clean Water Act Section 401 Certifications

Legal Alerts Apr 23, 2020

Supreme Court Decision Creates New Standard for Clean Water Act NPDES Permit

County of Maui v. Hawai’i Wildlife Fund

Legal Alerts Apr 20, 2020

Final Rule Narrowing Clean Water Act Jurisdiction to be Published Tomorrow

EPA and Army Corps of Engineers New “Waters of the U.S.” Definition Takes Effect on June 22*

Legal Alerts Mar 10, 2020

The EPA’s National Water Reuse Action Plan

Joint Plan Aims to Meet Rising Water Demands

Client Successes Feb 11, 2020

BB&K Team Helps Secure $325 Million in Border Water Projects

USMCA and Federal Funds to Address Pollution Problem

Legal Alerts Feb 06, 2020

PFOA and PFOS Response Levels Lowered for California Drinking Water

New Thresholds Impact Wider Swath of Public Water Suppliers

Event Jan 24, 2020

34th Annual Land Use Law & Planning Conference

UCLA Extension Public Policy Program

Legal Alerts Jan 23, 2020

Final Rule Narrowing Clean Water Act Jurisdiction

EPA and Army Corps of Engineers Give New Waters of the U.S. Definition

Legal Alerts Jan 13, 2020

New Environmental and Telecommunications Laws

Part 3: California Laws Impacting Public Agencies for 2020

Legal Alerts Nov 06, 2019

Cities Issuing Business Licenses Will Need to Verify NPDES Permits First

What California Cities Need to Know to Comply with SB 205

Legal Alerts Oct 30, 2019

Clean Water Act: 2015 Jurisdiction Rule Repeal Set to Take Effect Dec. 23

WOTUS Definition Court Challenges Continue

Videos Oct 10, 2019

[WEBINAR] Navigating California’s New Regulations for Wetlands and State Waters

BB&K Webinar

Legal Alerts Sep 03, 2019

California Issues the Nation’s Strictest Notice Levels for PFAS in Drinking Water

New Response Thresholds and Regulations in the Works for Public Water Suppliers

Press Releases Aug 19, 2019

Partner Shawn Hagerty a San Diego Top Attorney

Recognized for Land Use Planning, Water Quality and Municipal Law Work

Legal Alerts Aug 09, 2019

PFAS Concerns Trigger Regulatory and Legal Responses

Federal and State Governments and Courts Concerned About Toxicity and Water Contamination

Authored Articles & Publications Apr 30, 2019

"California Water," Third Edition

Eric Garner’s Updates to Text on Historical, Legal and Policy Issues Affecting California Water Use

Press Releases Apr 24, 2019

BB&K’s Christi Hogin and Andre Monette Honored for Amicus Work by IMLA

The Attorneys Argued About Short-Term Rentals and the Clean Water Act in the Ninth Circuit

Client Successes Apr 24, 2019

Tribe Lacks Standing in Water Suit

Representing Desert Water Agency, BB&K Attorneys Won Partial Dismissal of Case

Legal Alerts Apr 04, 2019

New Wetlands Protections in California Proposed

SWRCB Votes to Adopt Regulations that Could Impact Permitting Procedures

Legal Alerts Feb 15, 2019

Clean Water Act: Proposed WOTUS Replacement Rule Published in Federal Register

Comments Due by April 15

Legal Alerts Dec 12, 2018

Proposed Federal Clean Water Rule Impacts Cities and Residents

Comments Being Sought

BB&K In the News Dec 04, 2018

Partner Andre Monette Discusses SCOTUS Clean Water Act Question with Law360

Invitation to Solicitor General for Opinion is Encouraging, He Says

Press Releases Sep 18, 2018

BB&K Attorney Ryan Baron Serving on the California Lawyers Association Board of Representatives

Appointed by the Public Law Section

Videos Aug 14, 2018

Lauren Langer Video Bio


BB&K In the News Jul 20, 2018

Kavanaugh and the Clean Water Act

Partner Andre Monette Interviewed by Bloomberg Environment on SCOTUS Nominee

Videos Apr 24, 2018

The Price of an Aging Infrastructure on the Environment

The Bill is Due: Now What? Infrastructure, Pensions and the Environment

Client Successes Feb 05, 2018

Water Law Case Overturned for City

BB&K Partners Gene Tanaka and Shawn Hagerty Win in California Appellate Court

Legal Alerts Feb 02, 2018

Decision Could Expand Clean Water Act NPDES Permit Requirements

Ninth Circuit Rules in Hawaii Wildlife Fund, et al. v. County of Maui

Legal Alerts Jan 22, 2018

Supreme Court WOTUS Decision Vacates Sixth Circuit Decision

District Court Stays and EPA Delay of Rule Implementation Remain in Effect

Legal Alerts Dec 20, 2017

Dispute Over Lead Testing in School Drinking Water Continues

State Water Resources Control Board Says It Will Enforce Permit Amendment

BB&K In the News Nov 27, 2017

Two Service Districts Form LAFCO

Plumas County News Reports on BB&K Partner Joshua Nelson’s Consolidation Advisement

Legal Alerts Nov 06, 2017

California Water Providers Must Test for Lead in Local Schools’ Water by Mid-2019

AB 746 Imposes Requirements for Water Providers and School Districts

Legal Alerts May 08, 2017

Preparations Underway to Regulate 1,2,3-TCP in California’s Drinking Water

State Water Resources Control Board Held Public Hearing

Legal Alerts Feb 23, 2017

California to Require Domestic Water Suppliers to Test School Drinking Water for Lead

State Water Resources Control Board Amends Domestic Water Supply Permit

Legal Alerts Jan 25, 2017

WOTUS Rule on Hold in Sixth Circuit

Challenge to Waters of the U.S. Rule Delayed Pending Supreme Court Review

Press Releases Jan 20, 2017

San Diego Super Lawyers and Rising Stars 2017

Congratulations to the BB&K Attorneys Recognized for their Work

Legal Alerts Jan 18, 2017

Waters of the U.S. Rule to Go to Supreme Court

Nation’s High Court Agreed to Hear Challenges to Controversial Rule

Press Releases Dec 28, 2016

Former County Counsel Ryan Baron Joins Environmental Law Practice Group

BB&K Welcomes Baron as Of Counsel

Videos Dec 05, 2016

Shawn Hagerty Video Bio


Videos Nov 22, 2016

Joseph Byrne Video Bio


Videos Nov 18, 2016

Eric L. Garner Video Bio

Managing Partner

Legal Alerts Nov 15, 2016

The Future of U.S. Infrastructure and Local Control Amid Post-Election Uncertainty

Post-Election Opportunities for Local Government Agencies

BB&K In the News Oct 27, 2016

BB&K’s Reimagining the Cadillac Desert

Maven’s Notebook Shares Highlights from Water Event

Press Releases Oct 05, 2016

Two BB&K Partners Named Among 100 Influential Leaders in San Diego

Partners Warren B. Diven and Shawn D. Hagerty Recognized by The Daily Transcript

BB&K In the News Sep 28, 2016

South Ontario Neighborhood Has Lived on Trucked-In Water for Nine Years, Here’s Why

BB&K Partner Gene Tanaka Discusses Possible Resolution of Toxic Water Issue with San Bernardino Sun

Legal Alerts Aug 29, 2016

California Supreme Court Requires State to Fund Local Stormwater Programs

Funding Sources Potentially Impacted for Cities and Counties

Authored Articles & Publications Aug 24, 2016

Sweeping Six-Case Win For Water District Helps Secure Orange County’s Water Supply

BB&K Partner Michelle Ouellette Authors a Summary of Recent Appellate Victory for Orange County Lawyer Magazine

Legal Alerts Jul 27, 2016

California State Water Board Extends Public Comment Period for Wetlands Policy; New Permits Likely to be Required

Public Comments Due Aug.18

BB&K In the News Jul 25, 2016

Water Futures

Managing Partner Eric Garner Discusses Changing Water Infrastructure with Best Lawyers

Legal Alerts Jul 20, 2016

California State Water Board Releases Revised Drinking Water Fee Regulations

Public Comments Due July 29th

BB&K In the News May 26, 2016

EPA Staff Divided on Allowing CWA Permits for Groundwater Discharges

BB&K Partner Shawn Hagerty Discusses Clean Water Act Issues

Legal Alerts May 19, 2016

Emergency Groundwater Sustainability Plan Regulations Adopted By California Water Commission

Key Principle: Sustainable Management Through Local Efforts

Client Successes May 13, 2016

BB&K Secures CEQA Appellate Victory in Water Project

Six Challenges to Public-Private Partnership Effort Overcome

BB&K In the News May 11, 2016

BB&K Team’s CEQA Appellate Victory in Water Transfer Project

High-Profile Case That Impacts Water Customers Throughout Southern California Discussed in News Reports

Legal Alerts May 11, 2016

Sweeping Six-Case Win for Water District

Court Upholds Public-Private Groundwater Conservation and Recovery Project That Will Serve Customers Throughout Southern California

Legal Alerts May 09, 2016

New Executive Order Released By California Governor for Long-Term Water Planning Released

State Water Resources Control Board Releases Draft Regulation to Modify Water Conservation Requirements

Legal Alerts May 04, 2016

California State Water Board Set to Impose New Drinking Water Fees on Public Water Systems

Public Comments Due June 22

Press Releases Apr 21, 2016

BB&K Partners Shawn Hagerty and Andre Monette Honored by IMLA

They Received an Amicus Service Award for Their Work on a Maui Water Quality Matter

Legal Alerts Mar 11, 2016

March 15 Deadline Approaches For California Water Suppliers to Apply for Adjustments to Water Conservation Requirements

Climate, Growth and Water Supply Adjustments Ease Conservation Burden in Some Communities

Legal Alerts Feb 22, 2016

Sixth Circuit Exercises Jurisdiction over Federal Clean Water Rule Challenges

Nationwide Stay of WOTUS Rule Remains in Effect

Legal Alerts Jan 21, 2016

Shasta Lake Water Levels Subject of New Litigation

Water Contractors Challenge SWRCB Order Potentially Restricting Water

Legal Alerts Jan 20, 2016

California State Water Board Releases Proposed Text of Emergency Water Conservation Regulation

Public Comments Due Jan. 28

Legal Alerts Oct 20, 2014

California Takes Significant Strides Toward Design-Build

New Law Consolidates Certain Design-Build Authorizations Under a Single Statute

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