Chris Pomeroy

President

Chris Pomeroy co-founded AquaLaw in 2002 with Paul Calamita.  Today, AquaLaw is nationally recognized for its expertise on municipal water, wastewater, stormwater and related business matters, where Chris brings a broad range of experience and expertise.

Practice Overview

Chris focuses his practice primarily on advising and representing water, wastewater and stormwater utilities owned or operated by localities, authorities or special districts.  He has a successful track record working in various settings where critical decisions are made on legislative, regulatory and business matters affecting water infrastructure, from confidential counseling, to advocacy with third parties, to complex negotiations and, when necessary, litigation before agencies and courts.

In the legislative arena, Chris has worked extensively with the Virginia General Assembly as well as with the Maryland General Assembly and the U.S. Congress.  Among his more visible projects are Nutrient Trading (lead lobbyist for Virginia’s 2005 Point Source Nutrient Credit Exchange Program and 2012 Nonpoint Source Expansion) and Virginia Water Quality Improvement Fund Appropriations (nearly $900 million since 1997).

In regulatory matters, Chris has a tremendous depth of experience in water and water quality matters.  On rulemakings and other policy matters, Chris has effectively represented wastewater utilities through the Virginia and the Maryland Associations of Municipal Wastewater Agencies (VAMWA and MAMWA, respectively) as well as stormwater agencies through the Virginia Municipal Stormwater Association (VAMSA) and its newer sister organization, the Maryland Association of Municipal Stormwater Agencies (MAMSA).  Chris has frequently been appointed by regulatory agencies to advisory committees on environmental rules.

Individual counties, cities, towns, and authorities routinely seek Chris’ strategic advice early in the permitting process and on controversial permit revisions, as well as to help responsibly manage noncompliance and any related enforcement.  Using his understanding of regulatory processes and flexibilities developed through a longstanding fulltime water practice, Chris has helped clients achieve successful resolutions to many dozens of permit issuances and enforcement actions. In fact, Chambers USA recognizes Chris as a “great choice for permitting and enforcement defense” and as “an expert in the Clean Water Act” in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2010.

When litigation is unavoidable, clients count on Chris to make their best case in water related disputes.  Over the years, Chris has handled a variety of litigation matters as lead or special counsel in state and federal courts, from appeals of regulations and permits to defense of agency or citizen enforcement actions.  Among his higher-profile recent cases are a win in an appeal of a novel stormwater “flow” TMDL (Virginia DOT & Fairfax County v. U.S. EPA in the Eastern District of Virginia) and over the Chesapeake Bay TMDL (American Farm Bureau Federation et al. v. U.S. EPA et al. in the Middle District of Pennsylvania) and Nutrient Trading (Food & Water Watch et al. v. U.S. EPA et al. in the D.C. District).

A significant portion of Chris’ practice is devoted to general utility matters such as inter-jurisdictional water and wastewater agreements, local ordinance development, ratemaking, utility formation and mergers, and other aspects of utility law.

Recent Utility Projects

Contracts – For municipal utilities, drafted, negotiated and provided implementation advice for many contracts for water sales, wastewater service, effluent trading, third-party contract operations, utility mergers, and water authority formation and operation

Utility Rates, Fees & Charges – Advised utilities on legal aspects of development and implementation of water, wastewater and stormwater utility rate structures under cost-of-service principles

Water Supply – Advised utilities on surface water and groundwater withdrawal permits, minimum instream flows, groundwater mitigation, drought ordinances, water allocations, and local water reuse program development

Stormwater Management – Represented MS4 owners in development of next generation NPDES permits and post-construction stormwater management programs including LID/ESD design standards, local ordinances and local program administration

Water Quality Planning – Advised groups of dischargers on Clean Water Act water quality standards development, TMDLs and associated allocations, TMDL implementation, and related use attainability analyses and variances, including for the Chesapeake Bay Nutrient TMDL

Water Quality Permits – Advised dozens owners of POTWs and MS4s on NPDES permitting, compliance and enforcement, including TMDLs and water quality-based limits for nutrients, metals, organics and whole effluent toxicity; new or expanded facilities and pollutant load offsets; monitoring frequency reductions; water quality studies; and other special conditions

Effluent Trading – Negotiated legislation and regulations for Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay nutrient credit trading program and developed operating agreement among owners of over 100 municipal and industrial WWTPs

Recycling & Sustainability – Represented owners of POTWs in successfully pursuing and maintaining policies for critical sustainability efforts, including reuse of reclaimed water and biosolids recycling

Enforcement Defense & Citizen Suits – Negotiated numerous consent orders and other settlements of environmental enforcement actions by federal and state regulators and defended citizen suits against clients for NPDES permit noncompliance and sewer system overflows

Grant Funding – Advised utilities on state and federal appropriations, grant funding program policies, and grant agreement negotiation and implementation issues for various projects including POTW nutrient removal technology in the Chesapeake Bay watershed

Safety & Damage Prevention – Advised local governments and authorities on a variety of infrastructure-related safety programs including dam safety and underground utility damage prevention (Miss Utility)

Education

J. D., George Washington University Law School, Washington, D.C., 1996, With High Honors
Law Review: GW Journal of International Law & Economics, Member
Moot Court Board, Member

B. S. Biology, Fairfield University, Fairfield, Connecticut, 1992, cum laude
Honors Program, Member
AED Pre-Med Honor Society, Member

Professional Affiliations

Maryland State Bar Assn, Environmental Law & State/Local Govt Law Sections
Virginia State Bar, Environmental Law Section (Chair, 2001-2002)
Local Government Attorneys of Virginia
Virginia Association of Counties
Virginia Municipal League
Virginia Water & Waste Authorities Association
Water Environment Federation (Including Virginia & Chesapeake Chapters)
American Water Works Association (Including Virginia Chapter)
National Association of Clean Water Agencies, Legal Affairs Committee

Bar Admissions

Maryland
Virginia
Various Federal Courts

 

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