• Posts by Tara E. Paul
    Associate

    Tara Paul represents public agencies and investor-owned utilities.  Her practice is focused on water industry issues, and her experience includes representing clients in complex water rights litigation and groundwater ...

Power Shutoffs: What California Water Providers Should Know

We recently authored the article, “Power Shutoffs: What California Water Providers Should Know” (subscription required) for the Daily Journal, California’s leading daily legal news source.

The article examines how water systems—which rely heavily on electricity to pump, treat and deliver safe drinking water to customers—have been impacted as catastrophic wildfires in California have led to an increased use of public safety power shutoff (PSPS) as a means for electric utilities to mitigate the risk ...

PFAS: Updates on the Regulatory Landscape

Please join me as I moderate “PFAS: Updates on the Regulatory Landscape” on July 29th, from 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. PT, during the 2020 Summer Virtual Conference, hosted by the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA).

Participants will come away from this session with important information about...

WOTS Next? An Update on the Clean Water Act and Regulation of Waters of the State & Waters of the U.S.

Please join us along with our guest panelist, Thienan Pfeiffer, President & CEO of Glenn Lukos Associates, from 1:00 – 2:15 p.m. PT on July 16, 2020 for a timely webinar: "WOTS Next? An Update on the Clean Water Act and Regulation of Waters of the State & Waters of the U.S."

In the ever-shifting landscape of the Clean Water Act and Porter-Cologne jurisdiction, it can be difficult to determine whether you are engaging in activities that result in discharges of dredge, fill or pollutants to a Water of the United States (WOTUS) or Water of the State (WOTS), triggering regulatory permitting ...

Posted in Water Quality
Water Board Adopts Final Definition of Microplastics in Drinking Water

This week, on June 16, the California State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”) unanimously adopted a definition for microplastics, making California the first state to adopt a definition specifically applied to drinking water (footnotes omitted):

‘Microplastics in Drinking Water’ are defined as solid polymeric materials to which chemical additives or other substances may have been added, which are particles which have at least three dimensions that are greater than 1nm and less than 5,000 micrometers (µm). Polymers that are derived in nature that have not been chemically modified (other than by hydrolysis) are excluded.

The final definition is much the same as the proposed version that was issued in March 2020 for public comment, key differences being that ...

Developments in Regulating PFAS in Water

Recently, I participated in the Environmental Law Institute’s (ELI) Master Class, PFAS: From Common Use to Concern. My fellow panelists and I discussed “PFAS in Water,” which included a discussion of the environmental and human health impacts of PFAS contaminated waters, as well as the best approaches to regulate, establish and enforce cleanups and safe drinking water standards.  I was privileged to serve on this panel along with Chris Curran, Water Business Line PFAS Lead, AECOM; Rula Deeb, Ph.D., Senior Principal, Geosyntec Consultants; and Jonathan Kalmuss-Katz, Staff Attorney, Earthjustice. Some of the main take-aways from our presentation included ...

UPCOMING WEBINAR: PFAS in Water

Please join me on May 5, 2020, when I will participate in a webinar panel discussion, "PFAS in Water," hosted by the Environmental Law Institute (ELI). As the second presentation during the ELI Master Class, PFAS: From Common Use to Concern, our  panel will dive into the environmental and human health impacts of PFAS contaminated waters. We will also tackle the best approaches to regulate, establish and enforce cleanups and safe drinking water standards. Additionally, our group of experienced water sector practitioners will explore the federal and regional regulatory ...

Middle Ground, or Muddy Waters? SCOTUS Issues Vague Rule in Clean Water Act Decision

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a long-awaited decision in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund et al., 590 U.S. __ (2020), in which it determined that the Clean Water Act (CWA) requirements for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for point source discharges of pollutants do apply in certain circumstances to effluent that reaches waters of the United States via groundwater. But under what circumstances? Plaintiff environmental groups argued for the Ninth Circuit’s decision that CWA permitting requirements apply when effluent in a ...

Recent Report Forecasts Economic Hardships for Water Utilities Nationwide

As California businesses remain closed and residents stay at home under shelter-in-place orders, water utilities are at the frontlines ensuring continued access to safe drinking water. Still, it seems that no industry is immune to COVID-19’s economic impacts. A recent analysis prepared for the American Water Works Association and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies estimates that revenue shortfalls for the water industry could result in a $32.7 billion reduction in nation-wide economic activity, with significant impacts on private sector jobs and investment in ...

WEBINAR: Keeping Current on COVID-19 Challenges for the Water Industry

Please join our Water Industry Team on April 16, 2020 for “Keeping Current on COVID-19 Challenges for the Water Industry,” a special presentation as part of our 2020 Water Webinar Series. 

There is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted business operations in virtually every business sector, and the water industry is no exception. We are mindful of how strenuous it is for our clients to navigate these turbulent times as they continue to provide critical services to our communities and adapt quickly to new emergency orders ...

Keeping Current on COVID-19 Challenges for the Water Industry

There is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted business operations in virtually every business sector, and the water industry is no exception.  We are mindful of how strenuous it is for our clients to navigate these turbulent times as they continue to provide critical services to our communities and adapt quickly to new emergency orders.

We have received a number of questions and concerns from clients on how the current pandemic affects the water industry, and what to expect going forward. We will be hosting a webinar on April 16, 2020 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. PT to address some of the latest updates on these issues and to help answer questions. Please click here to register.

In the meantime, the following summarizes some of the key issues facing water industry professionals, which we will address also in more detail during the webinar ...

EPA Takes Key Step Toward Regulation of PFAS
On March 10, 2020, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its proposed Preliminary Regulatory Determinations for perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in drinking water, thereby taking the initial steps to formally regulate two of the most common chemicals in the family of compounds known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water. EPA will seek comment on these preliminary determinations until May 11, 2020.
 
This announcement represents EPA’s preliminary determination that PFOA and PFOS meet the statutory criteria for regulation ...
Posted in Water Quality
State Water Board Imposes Stricter Response Levels for PFOA and PFOS

On February 6, 2020, the California State Water Resources Control Board lowered the response levels (RLs) for perflourooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), two of the most common compounds in the family of chemicals known as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The new RLs are set at 10 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and 40 ppt for PFOS, down from the previous RL of 70 ppt for the combined concentration of the two compounds.

This Board action follows the new regulatory requirements in California for PFAS that became effective on January 1, 2020 ...

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California Water Views provides timely and insightful updates on the water sector in the state. We relay information on how water legislation and policy from the nation’s capital, Sacramento, and around the U.S. affect California’s water utilities, agencies, practitioners, and consumers.  We also write about important events, conferences, legal cases, and other key happenings involving all things water in and around California.

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