Recorded Webinar: Clean Water Act at 50

Our panel of experts discuss what's next for California's clean water laws.
Regulations, Wastewater News

The Clean Water Act and Porter-Cologne provided California’s water professionals and regulators the support and funding needed to make monumental clean water achievements. Rivers, bays, and beaches across the Golden State are cleaner than ever and enjoyed by millions of residents and tourists.

This webinar was recorded live on October 5, 2022.

Now 50 years old, and entering middle age, what’s the future of the Clean Water Act?

Join our panel of regulatory leaders to explore and celebrate the CWA and learn about their vision for clean water going forward. You’ll learn about:

  • CWA achievements and State Water Board priorities.
  • Recurring challenges, including: Waters of the US, non-point source pollution, regulatory flexibility and innovation, and more.
  • Current enforcement trends and where they’re heading.

California Water Professionals Appreciation Week

The webinar is being held during California Water Professionals Week October 1-9 to shine a spotlight on California’s amazing water pros. Supporting organizations include: CASA and CWEA.

Photo by Ernie Leal, SOCWA

About our panelists

State Water Board member Nichole Morgan was appointed as the civil engineer to the State Water Resources Control Board by Governor Gavin Newsom in June 2021. Ms. Morgan most recently served as an Assistant Deputy Director in the State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Financial Assistance, where she worked on projects providing funding for drinking water, wastewater, storm water and groundwater infrastructure improvements. During this time Ms. Morgan also managed a variety of additional programs including the Lead in Child Care Centers, Fish Advisories, and Drinking Water and Wastewater Operator Certification programs.

Adam Link is the Executive Director of CASA. He brings over 10 years of experience dealing with wastewater regulatory, legislative, and legal issues to managing the association and ensuring that CASA fulfills its mission of providing trusted information and advocacy on behalf of California clean water agencies.

Prior to joining CASA, Adam was a practicing attorney focusing on water quality, environmental and local government issues. Adam holds degrees from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.

Dr. Dave Owens is a Professor of Law and the Faculty Director of Scholarly Publications for UC Hastings. He teaches courses in environmental, water, land use, energy, and administrative law. He went to Berkeley Law, where he served as editor-in-chief of Ecology Law Quarterly and was selected for the Order of the Coif.

Professor Owen went on to clerk at federal district court and then work for a small law firm in San Francisco, where his practice focused primarily on water law. He worked on Colorado River allocation, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta litigation, and federal state disputes over the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository.

Nicole Granquist is a Partner with Downey Brand and Chair of their Natural Resources Department. She is among an elite group of attorneys whose practice is devoted entirely to water quality regulatory compliance, enforcement defense, and litigation.

Given Nicole’s extensive knowledge of the complex regulatory schemes created by the federal Clean Water Act and California Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act, she is frequently retained to defend public and private entities against third-party citizen suits filed by Baykeeper, Sierra Club, NRDC, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, California River Watch, and other similar groups in federal court, and she has successfully litigated or resolved over fifty such cases in the last fifteen years involving wastewater, process water, and storm water discharges.

About the Moderator

Melissa Thorme is a Partner with Downey Brand. For over 30 years, industrial and municipal clients have regularly turned to Melissa Thorme to assist in resolving their environmental compliance issues and negotiating or litigating their regulatory enforcement actions.

With a specific focus on stormwater and wastewater regulatory compliance issues, Melissa has successfully negotiated or challenged numerous discharge permits and enforcement actions before administrative agencies and in state and federal courts, with two consolidated permit appeal cases for the cities of Los Angeles and Burbank receiving a published opinion in the California Supreme Court. Melissa has also successfully litigated challenges to invalidate state and U.S. EPA water quality standards set in the Central Valley and Los Angeles regions, and has negotiated many settlement agreements for various clients.