Stephen N. Haughey
Steve is a member of Frost Brown Todd LLC and practices in the area of environmental law. He represents clients across the country in regulatory compliance counseling, permit negotiations, wetlands disputes, rulemaking challenges, and in defense of civil enforcement litigation, citizen suits, criminal prosecutions, and claims related to contaminated property.
Steve has particular proficiency in representing governmental entities and industry in all aspects of stormwater and wastewater regulations, including permitting, compliance counseling, rulemaking challenges and enforcement defense, and in local water, sewer and stormwater planning. His practice also concentrates in the defense of heavily regulated industries, such as iron and steel mills, pulp and paper mills, titanium mills, chemical plants, landfills, and food manufacturers.
Fairfield County Board of Commissioners v. Ohio EPA, No. 13-1085, (Ohio Sup. Ct., 07/08/2013) - Representation of Ohio Municipal League and County Sanitary Engineers Association as amicus parties in appeal of adverse decision affecting phosphorus and TDS limits for Ohio’s POTWs
City of Cincinnati v. City of Harrison, No A0900755 (Hamilton County, 03/01/2013) - Trial counsel in successful prosecution of Cincinnati and Hamilton County's water service rights against encroachment by Harrison, with award of legal fees and lost revenues.
Hobart Corporation, et al. v. Coca-Cola Enterprises, et al., No. 12CV00213 (S.D. OH, 2/8/2013) - Trial counsel in successful motion to dismiss CERCLA cost-recovery/contribution claims based on expiration of statutes of limitation.
Trumbull County Board of Commissioners v. Village of Lordstown, et al., No. 4:09CV249 (N.D. Ohio, 02/21/13) - Trial counsel in prosecution of sewer service rights under Ohio law against encroaching local governments (summary judgments pending).
Village of Camden v. Preble County Board of Commissioners, et al., No. 12CV29351 (Preble County) - Trial counsel in joint village taxpayer suit/bid challenge against award of leachate contracts.
Starlink Logistics, Inc. v. ACC, LLC, No. 1:12-CV-00011 (M.D. Tenn., 6/25/2012) - Trial counsel in memorandum opinion denying defendant's motion to dismiss citizen suit filed under CWA, RCRA, CERCLA, and Tenn. common law.
Miami Valley Paper v. Lebbing Engineering GmbH, No. 1:05CV702 (S.D. Ohio) - Defense jury verdict and counterclaim judgment for Lebbing in contract dispute over sale of paper winding equipment under the Convention for International Sale of Goods (CISG) Treaty.
Cities of Englewood and Union, Ohio v. Ohio EPA, Nos. 575984 - 576198, (ERAC) - First ever agreement by Ohio EPA to remove TMDL-driven phosphorus limits from discharge permits issued to Ohio POTWs.
State of Ohio v. Holmes County Board of Commissioners, No. 97CV049 (Holmes County) - Judgment denying civil contempt and penalties for alleged violations of earlier CWA Consent Order.
State of Ohio v. The Champion Company, No. 3:06CV210 (S.D. Ohio) - Decision allowing Jury Demand in CERCLA cost recovery case, with eventual settlement at less than 50% of alleged response costs.
Dow Chemical et al. v. Acme Wrecking, No. C-97-307 (S.D. Ohio) - Successful defense of 11 clients against joint U.S.EPA/private CERCLA contribution action, resulting in total de minimis contribution of less than $20,000 out of projected site clean-up costs of $16 million, including a settlement under U.S. EPA’s new CERCLA municipal waste policy.
City of Franklin v. Miami Valley Paper et al., No. 03CV61129 (Warren County) - $750,000 judgment entry for the City in prosecution of chronic pretreatment violations by an industrial user.
In re Eagle–Pitcher-Holdings, Inc., No. 05-12601 (S.D. Ohio Bankruptcy Court) - Representation of unsecured creditors committee to secure confirmation of debtor’s joint plan for funding of sites over U.S. EPA and Ohio EPA objections.
State of Ohio v. Titanium Metals Corporation, No 02CV526 (Jefferson County) - Successful defense of multimedia enforcement action, resulting in minor fine and no injunctive relief.
State of Ohio v. Mahoning County Board of Commissioners, No. 94CV239 (Mahoning County) - Successful termination of CWA consent order injunctive relief despite strong opposition.
State of Ohio v. AK Steel Corporation, No. CA200202042 (12th App. Dist.) - Successful prosecution of CAA declaratory judgment action declaring a series of NOV letters invalid.
Helter v. AK Steel Corporation, No C196527 (S.D. Ohio) - Successful dismissal on the pleadings of a multimedia citizen suit under all of the major federal environmental statutes and common law nuisance.
United States v. Atlas Lederer Company, No. C-3-91-309 (S.D. Ohio) - Successful assertion of divisibility argument against CERCLA motion for summary judgment.
Martin v. Miami Industries, Inc., No. 91-4045 (6th Circuit) - Upholding assertion of the “fair notice” defense against an OSHA citation under the general guarding standard.
Secretary of Labor v. Sawbrook Steel Castings Co., No. 89-686 (DOL ALJ) - Defense of OSHA citation under the hazard communication standard, resulting in non-serious classification and de minimis fines.
In re Lazarus, Inc., (EAB TSCA Appeal No. 95-2) - Defense of PCB enforcement action, resulting in 80% reduction in fines and first successful assertion of the Paperwork Reduction Act “defense” in an environmental case.
United States v. Lawrence County Board of Commissioners, No. C-1-91-302 (S.D. of Ohio) - Successful defense of joint state-federal CWA enforcement, resulting in $15,000 fine and 7-year compliance schedule.
In the matter of GCA Chemical Corporation, (TSCA-4-2000-0130, EPA ALJ) - Defense of TSCA inventory update rule enforcement action, resulting in 82% reduction in fines and ALJ’s agreement to deviate from U.S. EPA’s rigid enforcement policy.
Clean Water Act antidegradation and water quality standards rulemaking commenting, negotiations, and successful appeals in several midwestern states.
Counseling, permitting and strategic MS4 planning for several Midwestern counties and cities.
Successful defense of two-year joint federal/state criminal grand jury wastewater investigation of an Ohio County with no indictments returned.
Successful challenge before KY legislative committee of new groundwater rule on behalf of large trade association, and before Ohio legislative committee of new stream use designation rule on behalf of large paper mill.
More than 100 successful NPDES permit negotiations, appeals and enforcement defenses for industrial and governmental clients ranging from small villages to Fortune 100 manufacturers.
Steve has extensive experience representing Ohio and other Midwestern governmental entities and industry in the fields of wastewater, stormwater, drinking water and solid waste counseling, litigation, administrative appeals, strategic planning, and civil and criminal enforcement defense. His wastewater practice focuses in particular in all aspects of planning, service, treatment, and regulation as they apply to owners and operators of POTWs and sewer collection systems. In Ohio alone, Steve represents more than a dozen counties, cities, villages and regional sewer districts, ranging from small satellite sanitary sewer systems to large combined sewer systems.
Steve has commented on, negotiated and, as necessary, appealed more than 100 NPDES permits to various state and federal administrative boards, including the Ohio Environmental Review Appeals Commission, its predecessor the Ohio Environmental Board of Review, the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board, the Kentucky Environmental Protection Cabinet, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the Illinois EPA, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, U.S. EPA administrative law judges, and the federal Environmental Appeals Board in Washington, DC. In the permitting process, Steve's expertise in water quality standards, wasteload allocation, antidegradation and antibacksliding procedures, and stream use designations has enabled him to save owners of POTWs and industrial facilities tens of millions of dollars of unnecessary capital expenditures and annual compliance costs.
Steve has been a member of several state wastewater rulemaking advisory committees. He has commented on numerous draft rules for clients and governmental trade associations, and has prosecuted more than a dozen administrative appeals of wastewater-related rules and policies, covering such areas as state water quality standards and stream use designations, TMDL procedures, listings and implementation, CWA 304(l) listings, state antidegradation procedures, stormwater and pretreatment requirements, whole effluent toxicity, wasteload allocation procedures, implementation of the federal GLI, and CSO/SSO control strategies and related CMOM requirements.
Steve has been lead counsel in the defense of numerous state and federal (including both separate and joint prosecutions) civil enforcement actions in several Midwestern states in the areas of wastewater and stormwater compliance. He has negotiated consent orders for alleged SSO and CSO violations for collection systems, and more than two dozen consent orders for alleged violations of NPDES permits, and he regularly represents local governments and businesses in state and federal landfill cleanup litigation. In response to difficult financial times facing many local governments today, Steve has focused his counseling of POTWs on strategic planning, use of adaptive management principles, intergovernmental agreements for sharing of services, CWA 208 planning, and protecting water and sewer service rights.
Steve also represents owners of POTWs and individual operators during criminal investigations of alleged falsification of monthly reports. He successfully defended the largest joint state-federal criminal investigation of an Ohio POTW for alleged falsification of monthly reports. In the aftermath of that investigation, Steve conducts confidential audits of public utilities as a preventive measure, and is a frequent speaker on the issues of criminal liability, defensible data and the defensible exercise of professional judgment to certified operators in Ohio and other states.
Steve has a B.S. in environmental health, a minor in chemistry, and interned at an Ohio POTW while in college. He is a frequent speaker on wastewater and stormwater topics to Midwestern operators, and regularly presents a clinic to managers of POTWs on the basics of water quality-based permitting and negotiation. Steve is a member of the Water Environment Federation and the Ohio Water Environment Association, and is also an affiliate member of the Ohio County Commissioners Association, the Ohio Sanitary Engineers Association, and a speaker for the Operator Training Committee of Ohio.
Highlights & Recognitions
- Selected for inclusion in Ohio Super Lawyers®, 2004-2014
- The Best Lawyers in America®, 2002-2014
- Chambers U.S.A.® America's Leading Business Lawyers, 2005-2013
- AV® Preeminent™ Rated, Martindale-Hubbell®
- Cambridge Forums: Participation in Invitation-Only Clean Water Act Forum in Washington, DC for Leading Practitioners, 2010-2011
Memberships & Affiliations
- Ohio State Bar Association, Environmental Law Committee
- Cincinnati Bar Association, Environmental Law Committee
- Water Environment Federation, Member
- National Association of Clean Water Agencies, Affiliate Member
- Ohio Water Environment Association, Member
- Ohio County Commissioners Association, Affiliate Member
- Ohio Sanitary Engineers Association, Affiliate Member
- Operator Training Committee of Ohio, Speakers Bureau Member
Recent Blog Posts
- U.S. EPA Issues Proposed Rule To Clarify Stormwater Requirements
- U.S. Court Of Appeals Strikes Down EPA’s Prohibitions Against Blending During Wet Weather Events And Mixing Zones For Bacteria
- Ohio EPA Proposes More Stringent Non-Contact Cooling Water Discharge Permit for Industry
- New U.S. EPA Stormwater Rules and Initiatives Will Significantly Impact the Construction and Development Sector
- U.S. District Court in Dayton Issues Ohio's First Decision Applying the Supreme Court's May 2009 Ruling in Burlington Northern
- U.S. EPA Issues an Addendum to its Auditing Policy to Encourage Voluntary Disclosures by New Owners
- Environmental Appeals Board Narrows The Scope Of Legitimate Recycling of Used Materials
- 172 Frost Brown Todd Attorneys Recognized in 2014 Best Lawyers®
- 67 Frost Brown Todd Attorneys Recognized in 2013 Chambers USA®
- 68 Frost Brown Todd Attorneys Recognized in 2013 Chambers USA®
- 43 Frost Brown Todd Attorneys Recognized by Ohio Super Lawyers® and 17 Recognized by Ohio Rising Stars® for 2013
- 167 Frost Brown Todd Attorneys Recognized in 2013 Best Lawyers®
- 44 Frost Brown Todd Attorneys Recognized by Ohio Super Lawyers® and 15 Recognized by Ohio Rising Stars® for 2012
- 150 Frost Brown Todd Attorneys Recognized in Best Lawyers® 2012 Edition
- 57 Frost Brown Todd Attorneys Recognized in 2011 Chambers USA®
- 41 Frost Brown Todd Attorneys Recognized by Ohio Super Lawyers® and 14 Recognized by Ohio Rising Stars® for 2011
- 145 Frost Brown Todd Attorneys Recognized in Best Lawyers® 2011 Edition
- 54 Frost Brown Todd Attorneys Recognized in 2010 Chambers USA
Civic & Charitable Organizations
- N. KY Chamber of Commerce Environmental Affairs Committee
- Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce Environmental Committee
- Villa Hills/Crescent Springs Soccer Club, Board Member
- Northern Kentucky Soccer Officials Association, High School Referee
- United States Soccer Federation, Referee - Grade 8
- Cincinnati Area Knothole League, District 29 Coach
- Northern Kentucky AAU Association, Basketball Coach
Non-FBT Publications and Events
Steve has published numerous articles on environmental issues in trade journals, business publications, and newsletters. He is co-editor of the "Clean Water Act Permit Guidance Manual," (Executive Enterprise Publications Co. 1984), the first comprehensive permit negotiation manual of its kind ever published.
Steve is a frequent speaker to fellow environmental counsel at bar association seminars relating to wastewater issues, criminal defense, and CERCLA litigation. He is also a regular speaker to Ohio's wastewater operators in such areas as permit negotiations, water quality standards, reporting and record keeping of data, and the benefits of internal auditing.
Steve's recent speeches and presentations include:
"NPDES Permitting: Current Developments and Strategies for Negotiating Permit Terms and Conditions,” Ohio Water Environment Association Governmental Affairs Conference, March 7, 2013, Columbus, Ohio
“Protecting the County's Water and Sewer Rights in a Difficult Economy,” Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, Sandusky, Ohio, Summer Conference, June 22, 2012 and Ohio Sanitary Engineers Association, Summer Conference, June 11, 2012
Co-chair of the Ohio State Bar Association's 27th Annual Ohio Environmental, Energy and Resources Law Seminar that was held at Cherry Valley Lodge, Newark, Ohio from April 19 - 21, 2012. Steve also gave a presentation at the seminar entitled "Proposed Revisions to Ohio EPA's 401/404 Program “Implications for Those who Grade, Fill, Cross or Drain Wetlands and Streams in Ohio.” OSBA Environment, Energy and Resources Law Seminar 2012
Environemental Law Update from Columbus - “Impact of the Fairfield County Decision; Status of State and Federal Nutrient Criteria; TDS Takes Front and Center; Proposed Antideg Rule Revisions; Protecting Your Right to Sewer Under RC §6117.05; And the Proverbial ‘Kitchen Sink’”, CSEAO Summer Conference, June 6, 2011, Columbus, Ohio
“Status of Federal SSO Rulemaking - Yes?…, No?…, Or Somewhere In-Between?" - National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), Developments in Clean Water Seminar, November 17-19, 2010, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Development of Numeric Nutrient Water Quality Criteria - "Legal Implications and Compliance Issues for POTWs," Nutrient Removal Seminar Hosted by O'Brien & Gere, September 15, 2010
"2010 Environmental Enforcement Priorities And Litigation Trends For Ohio’s Municipalities," Ohio Municipal Attorneys Association Summer Conference, July 29, 1010
"2010 Environmental Enforcement Priorities and Litigation Trends for Ohio’s Counties," Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association Summer Conference, June 24-25, 2010
"2010 Environmental Law Update," Ohio Sanitary Engineers Association Summer Conference, June 7, 2010
Co-chair of the Ohio State Bar Association's 25th Annual Ohio Environmental, Energy and Resources Law Seminar that was held at Cherry Valley Lodge, Newark, Ohio from April 29 - May 1, 2010. Steve also gave a presentation at the seminar entitled "Regulating And Enforcing With Common Law - Nuisance: Update And Perspectives From The Plaintiff And Defense Bar - The Defense Perspective"
"Nutrient Criteria Development; Proposed Revisions to OEPA’s NPDES Rules; Building on the Union/Englewood TMDL Results; Funding Issues; Enforcement; Protecting Your Right to Sewer; and the Proverbial Kitchen Sink," 129th Annual CEAO Winter Conference, December 7, 2009
“Regulatory Update from Columbus,” Ohio Sanitary Engineers Association (OSEA) Summer Conference, June 1, 2009
“Enforcement of U.S. EPA/HUD Lead Disclosure Rule: Basics and Practice Pointers for the Kentucky Practitioner,” KBA Annual Environmental Committee Seminar, April 10, 2009
“Citizen Suit Summit: The Defense Bar Perspective on Standing, Intervention, Notice, Fee Shifting, and More,” OSBA Annual Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Law Seminar, April 2, 2009
“SSO Enforcement: New Developments from Columbus and Chicago,” Ohio Water Environment Association (OWEA) Government Affairs Conference, March 12, 2009
“Revisions To OEPA’s Antidegradation Rule, Water Quality Criteria, Stream Use Designations, and Operator Certification Rules,” OSEA Winter Conference, December 9, 2008
“TMDLs and Trading for Nutrient Limits in Ohio,” OSEA Summer Conference, June 9, 2008
“Negotiating, Complying with, and Terminating Consent Orders: The Latest Word from Columbus,” OSEA Winter Conference, December 4, 2007
“The Changing Face Of Environmental Enforcement: The Defense Bar Perspective,” 33rd Annual Federal Bar Seminar, July 19, 2007
“OEPA’s TMDL Program: Implementation Issues and Legal Challenges for Ohio’s POTWs,” OSEA Summer Conference, June 12, 2007,
“Wastewater Permitting 101: Understanding and Negotiating Permit Terms and Conditions in Ohio,” OSEA Winter Conference, December 12, 2006, and OWEA Annual Conference, September 20, 2006
“What Constitutes a Discharge of Pollutants to Waters of the United States after Rapanos,” Tall Stacks Music, Arts and Heritage Festival, October 4, 2006
“Avoiding Criminal and Civil Liability in Ohio Under the New Wastewater Operator Rules,” Operator Training Committee of Ohio, Inc., Class III and IV Workshop, August 15, 2006
“A Sanitary Engineer’s Worst Nightmare: An Unexpected Order from OEPA to Sewer Unsanitary Areas,” OSEA Summer Conference, June 13, 2006
Steve's recent client advisories include:
"Ohio EPA Proposes More Stringent Non-Contact Cooling Water Discharge Permit for Industry", February 12, 2010
"New U.S. EPA Stormwater Rules and Initiatives Will Significantly Impact the Construction and Development Sector", January 20, 2010
“U.S. District Court in Dayton Issues Ohio’s First Decision Applying the Supreme Court’s May 2009, Ruling in Burlington Northern, September 3, 2009
“Commencing Construction Projects in Kentucky without Obtaining Stormwater Permits: A Costly Proposition for Property Owners and Developers,” June 19, 2009
“IRS Rules that Supplemental Environmental Project Costs are not Deductible Business Expenses or Capitalized Expenditures,” August 5, 2008
“U.S. EPA Issues Addendum to its Auditing Policy to Encourage Voluntary Disclosures by New Owners,” August 4, 2008
“Environmental Appeals Board Narrows the Scope of Legitimate Recycling of Used Materials,” July 22, 2008
“Court of Appeals Case Demonstrates the Importance of Using Experienced Environmental Counsel to Oversee a Consultant’s Site Investigation,” August 3, 2006
“Ohio Supreme Court Decision Opens the Door to Private Takings Claims against Ohio’s Public Water and Sewer Utilities,” January 27, 2006