Global law firm White & Case LLP served as pro bono legal counsel to the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) in litigation and a related settlement with the Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) lodged in federal court yesterday. The settlement will put an end to polluted runoff from storm drains and eliminate illegal sewer connections that can cause raw sewage and other pollutant discharges into Boston's rivers and other water bodies.
Back in 2010, CLF filed a Clean Water Act Citizen Suit stating that BWSC did not put mechanisms into place to identify pollutants pouring into the Charles, Mystic and Neponset rivers and Boston Harbor. The suit also alleged that BWSC was violating its federally-issued stormwater discharge permit, discharging pollutants in violation of water quality standards, and failing to implement programs required by the permit to monitor discharges from its system and inspect stormwater controls at construction sites. The Environmental Protection Agency subsequently joined with CLF as a co-plaintiff in the suit.
The settlement, which resolves this suit, will require BWSC to make pollution control enhancements and to establish and implement installation schedules and monitoring programs. Fines totaling $235,000 will have to be paid by BWSC to the federal government, and BWSC also will fund a Supplemental Environmental Project that will address the leakage of privately-owned sewer lateral drains.
"White & Case's strong commitment to pro bono work added valuable resources to our litigation team, helping CLF secure the commitments to a cleaner, greener future for Boston through settlement in this case," said Anthony Iarrapino, lead counsel for CLF in the matter.
"We look forward to continuing to work with CLF to assist in collaboration with BWSC in ensuring that runoff and sewage no longer pose a threat to Boston's water quality," says White & Case Associate Seth Kerschner, who represented CLF. "BWSC's required Green Infrastructure and Low Impact Development projects, in particular, will allow residents and visitors to enjoy areas in Boston that are cleaner as a result of this case."
White & Case has a long history of pro bono and is one of the largest providers of pro bono services in the world. The Firm's Global Pro Bono Practice focuses on three areas – providing access to justice, promoting the rule of law and serving the world's leading non-governmental organizations.
Leading the CLF settlement at White & Case were Partner Richard A. Horsch and Associate Seth Kerschner.
White & Case has experience representing clients in disputes and litigation brought under a variety of environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act and analogous state laws involving liability for cleanup of contaminated waterways and sites.
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