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Hazardous Waste

Hazardous materials contamination poses extensive financial exposure and complex legal liability to an array of laws and regulations. Public agencies are often caught in the middle as injured parties whose property or operations are damaged by toxics and/or as potentially responsible parties who cause harm to others. 

Best Best & Krieger LLP’s (BBK) Hazardous Waste attorneys understand that public agencies are accountable to the public and stewards of the environment. We work to maintain open lines of communication with our clients, are prepared to represent the agencies to the public, and emphasize professionalism in litigation.

Our attorneys handle just about every type of hazardous waste matter a public agency may face. We have represented public agencies in cleanup actions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), cleanup and permitting under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), injunctive relief to prevent water quality contamination under the Clean Water Act (CWA), permitting and litigation under the Clean Air Act and more. We have represented clients in these matters with, before, and against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, California Department of Toxic Substances Control, California State Water Resources Control Board, and California Regional Water Quality Control Boards.  

If desired, we will prepare budgets and exposure analyses to help reduce the uncertainty of hazardous waste matters and assist agency budgeting for our public agency clients. We will also provide updates and assist with press releases so clients are prepared to report to the public and news media. Our broad public law background helps our clients in environmental matters avoid conflicts and comply with other legal requirements.   

Ultimately, good representation requires a partnership between the client and consultants, enhanced by experience and effective working relationships with staff, lawyers and all those involved in a matter. Our long-standing client relationships and effective counsel exemplify this and enable us to allay clients’ concerns regarding hazardous materials problems.

  • Represent the County of Amador in litigation against the State of California for contamination of a stream caused by the Mule Creek State Prison. This contamination stretches back decades and involves more than 100 ongoing violations. The lawsuit is set for trial in 2023.
  • Represent a port district in litigation to require responsible parties to clean up contamination in a major West Coast port.  
  • Represent Los Angeles County in assisting the California Department of Toxic Substances Control and EPA clean up lead contamination of 5,000 to 10,000 residences from the Exide facility and represent the County and City of Los Angeles in the cost recovery lawsuit.
  • Successfully prosecuted a special district’s $1 million claim for cleanup of hazardous materials in state trial and appellate courts, and counseled client through the regulatory oversight and cleanup. 
  • Represented the City of Merced in an action brought by approximately 2,200 plaintiffs for alleged chemical and biological contamination, CWA and RCRA violations and flood damages. The City obtained dismissal of the CWA and RCRA claims for less than defense costs. 
  • Represented the City of Colton in approximately 10 federal and state lawsuits, lasting nearly 10 years, over perchlorate groundwater contamination. The cases settled with Colton recovering almost all of its damages, and the responsible parties funding a nearly $100 million cleanup. 
  • Represent Los Angeles County before the California Department of Toxic Substances Control regarding cleanup of the former BKK Carson Landfill and cost recovery from numerous public agencies and private entities. 
  • Represented the City of Needles in two related lawsuits that helped prevent the licensing of a low-level radioactive waste facility at Ward Valley, California.

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