Overview

The availability of clean, usable water is expected to be one of the critical resource issues of the coming century. Reliable and abundant supplies of clean water are essential for economic development, public health, and environmental protection. Without clean water and proper water treatment, manufacturers cannot produce, business and industry cannot operate, and the population is at risk. But the development and maintenance of the technology and infrastructure required to satisfy the enormous and expanding thirst for water have long been neglected. Consequently, water systems are failing and the capacity to supply and treat water is falling well below recommended standards. Many communities depend on water pipes and systems that were built over 100 years ago. Hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), an oil and gas production technique that has experienced widespread growth in the past decade, accounts for a growing percentage of commercial water consumption. The generation of all major sources of energy requires massive quantities of clean and ultra-pure water. Yet contaminants enter our fresh water supplies daily while, at the same time, more sophisticated products and equipment place higher demands on ultra-pure water used in power production and manufacturing.

Our Water group works to identify problems and implement creative, innovative solutions, helping our clients effectively achieve their goals. The increasing demands for clean and reliable supplies of water create unique problems that require unique solutions. We understand the many risk factors that can affect the availability of water supplies, including natural hazards, severe weather, technology failure, climate change and competing uses. Our regulatory and transactional lawyers help manage risk by identifying compliance options and costs and structuring innovative public/private partnerships that help transfer and allocate risk. We also know the essential role of new technology in meeting new industrial and public demands for water, and our technology lawyers have represented creators and users of water technology in the areas of materials, equipment, processing, systems, methodology, testing and maintenance. Water industry solutions sometimes require massive funding, development and construction, and our finance and construction lawyers help provide our clients access to capital and financial markets. 

Our multidisciplinary team of lawyers assists clients in evaluating issues, identifying opportunities and executing actions. We recognize that providing our clients the information they need across a broad range of water-related issues involves many areas of law and requires us to know our clients' needs so we can meet and exceed their expectations.

Why Thompson Hine?
  • We are committed and connected to the water industry, with a demonstrated record of success.
  • We bring a depth of services to the forefront of everything we do, through our dedicated Client Service Pledge.
  • Our lawyers draw from a deep bench and full spectrum of related experience, including project development and finance, patent protection and monetization, energy and clean tech, environmental and regulatory compliance, construction, and riparian rights.
  • We know the particular issues and challenges those in the water industry face.
Experience
Representative Experience

Corporate & Commercial

  • Representing YSI in the sale of its water technology business to Xylem, the water technology division of ITT.
  • Representing a global consumer products company in the acquisition and sale of water rights and manufacturing and distribution operations.
  • Counseling a worldwide consumer products company on formation of multinational strategic joint venture to purchase and operate consumer products brands, including water products.
  • Advising a leading nationwide home and office delivery (HOD) bottled water manufacturer and distributor on compliance with applicable laws and regulations in 48 states.
  • Counseling a multinational corporation on developing a sustainability plan, including water management practices for strategic corporate risk management purposes.
  • Advising on a water technology cluster and startup company financing and support in Southeast Ohio.
  • Counseling a multinational corporation on sustainability plans, including water management practices for strategic corporate risk management in domestic and international facilities.
  • Counseling a power plant operator on acquiring and maintaining water rights.
  • Counseling a nationwide food processor on acquiring water rights to expand production and open a new manufacturing and distribution facility.

Intellectual Property

  • Advising a New York investment bank on the strength of its international patent portfolio of leading U.S. water equipment manufacturing and distribution companies.
  • Obtaining patents and counseling on use of water sprinkler technology for a Fortune 1000 international fire and loss prevention services provider.
  • Obtaining patents and successfully exploiting an international patent portfolio for a leading U.S.-based international supplier of mobile ultra-pure water treatment services.
  • Counseling a Fortune 500 manufacturer and distributor of leading residential water purification system on the actionable nature of advertising claims made by major competitor.
  • Obtaining patents for an Ohio-based environmental monitoring water instrumentation company and participating in sale of business in a transaction exceeding $300 million.
  • Successfully defending U.S. patents for deoxygenation technology in three patent infringement lawsuits, resulting in injunctive relief and eight-figure damages awards.
  • Providing IP due diligence and valuation support to mobile water treatment company in the $338 million sale of a business to a U.S. water purification equipment manufacturer.
  • Implementing a trade secret program and negotiating nondisclosure agreements for protecting proprietary water purification methodology used at nuclear power plants.
  • Representing a developer of anticorrosive coatings in the acquisition of patents and implementation of trade secret and patent program.
  • Providing opinions on validity and infringement regarding a competitor's patents claiming method for catalytic removal of organics with activated carbon.
  • Counseling a client in U.S. district court and on appeal in an infringement dispute with W.R. Grace over oxygen scavenger chemicals used in bottle cap liners.
  • Evaluating the validity and scope of portfolio of patents for natural gas recovery for possible acquisition by a venture capital company.
  • Handling patent matters involving water and wastewater treatment, ultra-pure water, catalysis, chemical additives, coatings and alloys, automatic control systems, database management, distillation, filtration, reverse osmosis, instrumentation, manufacturing processes, nanotechnology, power plant chemistry, turbo machinery, stormwater treatment, pumps, valves, fittings, and fluid storage and dispensing.

Environmental & Regulatory Compliance

  • Representing developers, builders and individual property owners on wetlands permitting and compliance, stream buffer permitting and compliance issues, and permitting associated with development and construction.
  • Counseling business entities regarding permitting and compliance requirements under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and analogous state programs.
  • Representing a potentially responsible party in state and federal action to clean up the Lower Passaic River in Newark, New Jersey and to recover naturalresources damages.
  • Representing one of two defendants in an Indiana fish kill case involving federal, state and class action claims seeking civil damages and penalties exceeding $50 million and federal criminal prosecution under the Clean Water Act.
  • Representing a food processing company in enforcement action by publicly owned treatment works in Illinois for alleged wastewater permit violations resulting in settlement after a show cause hearing.
  • Representing a sewer district in the negotiation of long-term control plan revisions under consent decree concerning combined sewer overflows, including use of green technologies to meet Clean Water Act requirements.
  • Representing a client in arbitration concerning an industry claim for breach of representations and warranties concerning wastewater discharges from a purchased facility.
  • Assisting in the defense of the South Florida Water Management District in a suit brought by the United States and State of Florida over alleged failure to protect the Everglades.
  • Representing a mining company in Ohio in its effort to obtain air and wastewater permits for a new surface mine.
  • Successfully appealing and overcoming an Emergency Order issued to a site owner and operator by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division under Georgia Safe Drinking Water Act.
  • Successfully defending manufacturers against numerous alleged NPDES violations in Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio and Pennsylvania, resulting in no penalties or notices of violation.
  • Negotiating an indirect discharge permit with the state of Ohio that allowed for significant plant expansion without the installation of control technology utilizing head works study at the POTW along with study of client's wastewater discharges.
  • Negotiating favorable permit terms and conditions for industrial discharge permits, including discharges of electroplating, chlorinated wastewaters and other wastes.
  • Negotiating favorable settlement of Clean Water Act citizen suit against an airport following a successful permanent injunction hearing.
  • Successfully defending and resolving odor nuisance claims associated with the operations of a municipal sewer plant.
  • Counseling regarding defense to U.S. EPA enforcement action under the Clean Water Act in Ohio.
  • Counseling with respect to preparation of Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans and Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plans.
  • Defending a municipality in Clean Water Act citizens suit arising from its discharge of de-icing fluids from a city-owned airport.
  • Representing a municipality in an administrative proceeding regarding odors emanating from its wastewater treatment plant.
  • Assisting in the transfer of wastewater discharge permits in connection with sales and acquisitions of manufacturing facilities.
  • Preparing and submitting comments to the U.S. EPA proposed cooling water intake structure regulations applicable to power plants.

Energy, Clean Technology & Sustainability

  • Negotiating vendor supply and IT contracts for water supply operations. Developed contracts and negotiated a 20-year water supply agreement for a 525 MW power plant in Oklahoma.
  • Developing a contract and negotiating a 15-year water supply agreement for a 200 Mg/year ethanol production plant in Colorado.
  • Advising and counseling on feasibility study and energy management plant review for a cogeneration facility in a municipal solar, waste resources and water treatment facility in Michigan.
  • Advising and counseling in a rate case for electricity demand charges, riders and rate relief for municipal water treatment facilities in multiple counties in Michigan.
  • Counseling on the development, commercial contracting and financing of an energy facility for the treatment of sludge as a qualifying cogeneration facility in New York.
  • Counseling on a lagoon farms project for development, emissions credit and power sales in Ohio to clear up water waste flows for compliance purposes with power and carbon credit structuring for a project selling credit values to an investor-owned utility.
  • Advising a Northeastern hydropower developer on the licensing and permitting of municipal hydroelectric plants.
  • Counseling a startup company developing innovative hydrogen on-demand technology utilizing water in the combustion process for increased performance in diesel engines.
  • Advising developers of a proposed offshore wind project on financing and regulatory authorization matters.
  • Advising on hydropower vendor contracts for the refurbishment of an operating hydroelectric facility in Michigan.

Water Bond Finance

  • $62,500,000 State of Ohio (Ohio Water Development Authority) Water Pollution Control Loan Fund Refunding Revenue Bonds Water Quality Series 2012A (Federally Taxable Series 2012 Water Quality Refunding Bonds) - Underwriter's Counsel.
  • $116,410,000 State of Ohio (Ohio Water Development Authority) Drinking Water Assistance Fund Refunding Bonds, Series 2010C and Series 2010B - Underwriters' Counsel.
  • $366,290,000 State of Ohio (Ohio Water Development Authority) Water Pollution Control Loan Fund Revenue Bonds, Water Quality Series 2010 - Underwriter's Counsel.
  • $25,000,000 State of Ohio (Ohio Water Development Authority) Solid Waste Revenue Bonds (Waste Mgmt Inc Project) Series 2007 - Bond Counsel.
  • $15,000,000 State of Ohio (Ohio Water Development Authority) Conversion & Remarketing of OWDA Solid Waste Revenue Bonds Series 2004 - Bond Counsel.
  • $138,050,000 City of Cleveland Water Revenue Bonds - Underwriter's Counsel.
  • $200,115,000 State of Ohio (Ohio Water Development Authority) Water Pollution Control Loan Fund Revenue Bonds, Series 2002 - Underwriter's Counsel.
  • $90,000,000 City of Cleveland Water Revenue Bonds, Series L, 2002 - Underwriter's Counsel.
  • $83,400,000 State of Ohio (Ohio Water Development Authority) Water Pollution Control Loan Fund Bond Anticipation Notes Water Quality Series 2001 - Underwriter's Counsel.