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Practice Areas - Water Utilities
Our Water and Wastewater Utilities attorneys counsel both public and private entities in all facets of water and wastewater utility law. Our attorneys have a broad range of experience in this area. We have represented numerous cities and several river authorities in certificate of convenience and necessity cases before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and have represented cities in various wholesale and retail water and wastewater rate cases. Through our work in this area, our attorneys have developed comprehensive expertise in the laws and regulations governing water and wastewater. Our Water and Wastewater Utilities practice includes:
Recently, our firm assisted the Village of Wimberley in acquiring its first wastewater treatment plant from a neighboring investor-owned utility, which included negotiating the contract for the sale and filing the sale-transfer-merger (STM) application with TCEQ. Acquisition of the wastewater treatment plant is the first phase in Wimberley's larger plan of bringing centralized sewer service to the Village, which is currently served for the most part by septic systems. The wastewater treatment plant was acquired as part of Wimberley's purchase of the Blue Hole property and swimming hole.
We represent clients in all types of matters involving water or wastewater CCNs, including applications to obtain or amend CCNs before the TCEQ. We prepare and file the CCN applications, provide the necessary notice, and litigate the CCN application, if opposed. We also represent clients before the TCEQ and SOAH when CCN applications are filed by competing utilities, and in decertification and cease-and-desist actions. Over the past five years, our attorneys have assisted over 15 different city and river authority clients on numerous CCN matters.
We assist clients in preparing, drafting, and adopting extension policies, utility infrastructure requirements, service applications, and service contracts with developers. We also prepare rate ordinances and tariffs.
We advise clients on matters relating to retail and wholesale water and sewer rates. With respect to retail rates, we counsel municipalities on various issues regarding their own water and sewer rates and extension policies and ordinances, and represent them when their outside-city rates are appealed to the TCEQ. We also counsel cities on their authority over the rates of investor-owned utilities (IOUs) and represent cities in appeals of the cities' decisions to change or deny rates of IOUs. With respect to wholesale rates, we represent wholesale service suppliers and purchasers in challenges to rates, terms, and the supply of water. In 2001, our firm represented a coalition of cities opposing state-wide rate increases by an IOU that involved nearly 50,000 retail customers. Most recently our firm represented another coalition of cities opposing regional rate increases by the same utility, which is now under different ownership.
We negotiate and draft wholesale and retail water and wastewater supply contracts and represent clients in contractual disputes relating to the provision of water or wastewater service. Our attorneys over the years have negotiated and drafted more than 150 wholesale or retail water or wastewater supply contracts, including contracts for municipalities, river authorities, water districts, hydroelectric utilities, industries, and golf courses.
On behalf of our municipal clients, we litigate water and wastewater service territory disputes that may arise with other utilities, namely water supply corporations (WSCs). We represent clients on these matters before the TCEQ and, when necessary, in state and federal court. We negotiate and draft territory exchange and dual-certification agreements, and prepare and file the necessary regulatory documents with the TCEQ. We assist clients in the TCEQ decertification and condemnation proceedings against WSCs, and we counsel clients on and litigate federal indebtedness issues, including the requirements of 7 U.S.C. § 1926(b). In the past three years, our attorneys have represented several municipal clients before the TCEQ, and in state and federal court on matters relating to service territory and § 1926(b) indebtedness issues.
We represent clients in the acquisition and sale of water and wastewater utilities and related property, including filing all necessary regulatory documents, such as sale-transfer-merger applications and CCN applications.
We assist clients in obtaining financing for reservoirs, water transmission and distribution systems, and water treatment systems. We also assist clients in financing the acquisition of water rights and other water and wastewater-related projects. We represent clients in obtaining financing from a variety of state and federal sources, as well as the private sector with major bond firms. We assist our clients in conducting bond elections and serve as issuer's counsel. We have acted as bond counsel or underwriter's counsel on over 40 different water and wastewater projects.
Attorneys who practice Water Utilities