For businesses in Florida, encountering and managing water is an ever present challenge. There are thousands of lakes in Florida, and the South Florida Water Management District alone operates over 2100 miles of rivers and canals. Most businesses encounter water in some capacity, either through construction and maintenance, or operating industrial systems. And several governmental entities regulate and oversee Florida’s water resources. Conducting business in this regulatory environment presents unique and frequent challenges.
As attorneys representing businesses throughout Florida, we encounter a wide variety of water based permitting and compliance challenges. One area of recent activity involves the regulation and licensing of dewatering systems for construction projects and the discharge of dewatering effluent. Dewatering systems for construction activities are licensed and regulated by a variety of governmental agencies at the state, local and sometimes federal levels. Often dewatering licenses include site specific conditions before the dewatering effluent can be released into the environment. In particular, most dewatering plans include advance treatment systems and stringent water quality standards. We represented owners, developers and contractors that are subject to regulation based upon the technical standards and procedures set forth in the licenses and permits. We work with our clients to outline the regulatory standard and licensing requirements, and to develop a system for monitoring and compliance.
After the completion of construction, new projects are also required to operating and maintain stormwater management systems in accordance with the applicable license and permits. But since the maintenance of stormwater management systems is often an afterthought, sometimes the maintenance is put off until a system fails or there is a pending transaction. Regulatory agencies are now issuing permits with conditions that require regular maintenance and, in Broward County, the surface water management licenses are limited to a term of five years.
As environmental attorneys, we often encounter issues with surface water management systems when there is a pending transaction, or when issues arise during due diligence. In some cases, a regulator agency will not transfer a license, nor issue a new system license, until there is a certification that the system is properly maintained and functional. It can be frustrating for owners and businesses when a transaction is held up due to licensing and compliance. We work with our clients to mitigate those challenges and to plan for smooth transactions.
Since the management of water is a challenge for many businesses in Florida, we recommend careful planning and comprehensive strategies for maintaining compliance. The attorneys at Gray Robinson can provide guidance and counsel your businesses on the best strategies for managing water resources and achieving compliance throughout Florida.