Legal Workshop
The 21st Century Legal Challenges in the Water Sector workshop will analyze current and emerging issues that are impacting water utilities and raising complex legal challenges for their operations. The workshop will guide participants through solution-based approaches to these challenges, and offer strategies to successfully manage them. Designed to foster collaborative discussions between attendees and presenters, the workshop includes dedicated networking opportunities, interactive Q&A sessions, and the opportunity for attendees to earn CLEs or related continuing education credits. Presenters will include leaders from the legal, water, regulatory, and municipal sectors.


The agenda will focus on these timely topics:
  • Lead and copper issues in the Great Lakes region and what to expect with the current and pending changes to the Lead and Copper Rule. 
  • Potential tort liabilities facing water utilities and how to manage the risks involved.
  • The PFAS debate: including a history of PFAS usage, the EPA’s PFAS Action Plan, and what water utilities and legal professionals can expect in upcoming policy changes and regulation.
  •  A moderated discussion by and between water utility leaders - “What’s Keeping You Up At Night?” - focusing on current legal and policy issues that are on their minds.

December 5, 2019 I  Chicago, Illinois

Registration for this workshop is now closed.

Workshop Location 
Michael Best & Friedrich LLP
River Point Conference Center
444 West Lake Street, 23rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60954
Workshop Sponsor

Location Host


Who Attends

  • Water utility General Counsels and in-house legal staff
  • Water utility CEOs, GMs, COOs, and related senior management
  • Municipal legal professionals
  • Legal professionals practicing in the water sector

Registration closed Monday, December 2 per facility security requirements and capacity.  

2019 Registration Rates
Small Systems*
Seminar Registration   $195 $295  $95
*Must have under 3500 customers. All Small Systems registrations will be verified. Enter the promo code “LEGALSMALL” upon checking out to receive the small systems pricing.

Please register early; advance registration is required per host facility security requirements.
Cancellation Policy: Cancellations must be received in writing, faxed or emailed to AWWA. Cancellations before the early deadline will receive a refund minus 25% administrative fee. Cancellations post-deadline will not be refunded; however, substitute registrants are welcome. Fax requests for substitutions or cancellations to 303.347.0804 or email Customer Service.
Photo and Information Release: By registering for this event, you agree to allow AWWA to use your photo in any AWWA-related publication or website. Registrants may receive show-related and promotional emails from exhibitors. AWWA uses a third party for this service, and at no time was your email disclosed to sponsors or exhibitors. 

Hotel Information

The workshop will be held in downtown Chicago, with many nearby hotels to consider. Transportation to the seminar is not included; three possible hotel options are:

Hyatt Place Chicago (.5 miles) 
28 North Franklin Street
Chicago, IL 60661
SoHo House Chicago (.6 miles)
113-125 North Green Street
Chicago, IL 60601
Renaissance Chicago Downtown (.6 miles)
1 West Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60601


Workshop Agenda


December 5, 2019


8:00 a.m.

Registration (continental breakfast will be available)

8:30 a.m.

Welcome and Introductions

9:00 a.m.

The Lead and Copper Rule: Actions That Are (and Will) Impact Utilities

This session will offer a panoramic view of the major legal and regulatory issues confronting water utilities of all sizes and locations with lead and copper requirements, including pending changes to EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule. Legal, regulatory and water utility leaders will highlight the key challenges and share their expertise on how water utilities can navigate these obstacles.  

Moderator: Andrew Stewart, Esq., Counsel - Sidley Austin LLP (Washington, DC)

•    Daniel Arnold, Esq., Office of the General Counsel - Denver Water (Denver, CO)
•    Rick Cobb, Acting Division Manager, Division of Public Water Supplies & Manager, Groundwater Section - Illinois EPA (Springfield, IL)
•    Steve McGinnis, PE, Principal - Ramboll Environ (Overland Park, KS)

Discussion topics will include legal and liability issues surrounding lead and copper provision including 

  • Action levels and what an exceedance triggers
  • Accurate sampling techniques
  • Tracking inventories
  • Removal of service lines on private property
  • Financing lead and copper corrective actions
  • The experiences of Great Lakes cities and states with lead and copper issues
  • EPA’s new drinking water enforcement priority and greater compliance scrutiny
  • Potential affordability impacts of meeting lead and copper requirements
  • The latest on pending changes to the Lead and Copper Rule and potential legal impacts on water utilities

10:30 a.m.

Networking break

11:00 a.m.

The Tort Liabilities and Water Utilities: Will They Sue Us?
A discussion and examination of various theories and defenses regarding tort liabilities and related issues that water utilities are facing or may face as part of their daily operations. A panel of leading experts from the legal and water sector will share their expertise and perspectives on key areas of tort liability issues.

Moderator: Susan Smith, Esq., Principal - Beveridge & Diamond PC (San Francisco, CA)
•    Lance Gable, Esq., Associate Professor of Law - Wayne State University School of Law (Detroit, MI)
•    Yolanda Grinstead, Esq., Special Counsel - Sewerage & Water Board of the City of New Orleans (New Orleans, LA)
•    J. David Krause, Ph.D., Director of Southeast Operations - Forensic Analytic Consulting Services (Tallahassee, FL)
•    Kara McCall, Esq., Partner - Sidley Austin LLP (Chicago, IL)

Discussion topics will include:

  • Tort liability theories and defenses (Can it be proven?)
  • Class action suits and related liability actions
  • Risk management and other operational issues
  • Do water utilities have sovereign immunity or other immunity defenses?
  • Recent legal developments with lead, Legionella, other emerging contaminants, and how water utilities and the courts are dealing with the expanding potential tort liability issues.

12:15 p.m.

Lunch and Speaker

1:30 p.m.

PFAS: New Frontiers of Law, Regulation & Policy
A discussion of current legal, policy and regulatory actions surrounding PFAS of key interest to water utilities. A panel representing the legal, water utility, and regulatory perspectives of PFAS will explore other ubiquitous compounds that have been the focus of litigation such as MTBE and whether there any lessons that can be drawn from those examples.

Moderator: John Sheehan, Esq., Partner - Michael Best & Friedrich LLP (Washington, DC)
•    Pete D'Adamo, Ph.D., P.E., Director of Water Treatment - HDR Inc. (Vienna, VA) 
•    Jessica Brody, Esq., General Counsel - Denver Water (Denver, CO)
•    Leah Hurtgen Ziemba, Esq., Partner - Michael Best & Friedrich LLP (Madison, WI)

Discussion topics will include:

  • PFAS 101: A brief history of PFAS 
  • What is EPA doing about PFAS?  What is the PFAS Action Plan and what does it mean for water utilities from a legal perspective?  
  • What are the States doing about PFAS?  
  • Where are the current (and potential) hot spots for PFAS litigation? 
  • What legal options do water utilities have to address PFAS contamination of their water supplies and facilities?
  • What is the future trajectory of PFAS policy, regulations and what are the legal ramifications? 

3:00 p.m. 

Networking break

3:15 p.m.

What’s Keeping You Up at Night? Legal and Policy Issues on the Minds of Water Utility Leaders
A panel of water utility leaders will discuss legal and policy issues they are most concerned about. This discussion will also include how water utilities are utilizing legal, regulatory and policy resources to navigate risks and protect both their operations and customers. 

Moderator: Tracy Mehan, Executive Director - Government Affairs - AWWA (Washington, DC)
•    Randal Brown, Esq., General Counsel - Great Lakes Water Authority (Detroit, MI)
•    Karen Dettmer, PE, Superintendent - Milwaukee Water Works (Milwaukee, WI)
•    John Donahue, CEO - North Park Public Water District (Machesney Park, IL)
•    Alex Margevicius, Commissioner - Cleveland Water (Cleveland, OH)

4:15 p.m.


4:30 p.m.

Informal Networking Reception 



Preliminary agenda; please check back for updates and additional details.



For questions regarding registration, lodging or general conference questions, please contact the Conferences and Events Group.