Skip to main content

Greenberg Traurig Hosts Event on Solving Water Infrastructure Challenges

MIAMI – Feb. 21, 2024 – Attorneys from global law firm Greenberg Traurig, P.A., government officials, and business leaders gathered to discuss the path to a more sustainable and efficient water future during the firm’s event, “Solving Today's Water Infrastructure Challenges - Forever Chemicals, Water Plant Innovation, and More.”

The Feb. 12th event held at Greenberg Traurig’s Miami office featured interactive discussions led by attorneys from the firm and leaders from Israeli water desalination company IDE Technologies.

“Our multidisciplinary Greenberg Traurig team is at the forefront of the changes happening in the water treatment industry. We saw an opportunity to help clients and governments address the challenges that lie ahead by learning from some of the innovations that are happening in Israel,” said Robert L. Grossman, chair of Greenberg Traurig’s Israel Practice. “This is a prime example of how the firm leverages its deep knowledge of the South Florida and Israeli markets to address important business issues through creative solutions.”

During the first presentation, Kerri L. Barsh, co-chair of Greenberg Traurig’s Environmental Practice, and Roi Zaken Porat, director of Water Treatment Process for IDE Technologies, presented on “What Are Forever Chemicals?” They discussed the impacts of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and sources and impacts of PFAS substances, which can pose significant risk due to their persistence in the environment.

Barsh discussed how businesses and governments should keep an eye on PFAS regulatory and legal developments. On the federal level, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is developing a comprehensive regulatory framework to govern PFAS, including a variety of environmental statutes and programs.

“Various states across the country are also engaging in legislative action over PFAS, so we’re seeing a flurry of regulatory activity with broad-ranging reach,” Barsh said. “This wave of regulatory activity has increased over the past two and a half years and we don’t expect to see things slow down anytime soon.”

During a panel titled “Forever Chemicals, Aging Water Infrastructure and More,” the panelists shed light on various challenges that communities face with aging infrastructure and PFAS. They also discussed the importance of identifying effective solutions to address PFAS in the long-term.

The event’s final panel on “Public-Private Solutions to the Water Infrastructure Challenges – A New Collaborative Model,” focused on how communities can utilize funding options like public-private partnerships (P3) and tax-exempt public financing to provide much-needed improvements to local water infrastructure. As a case study, the panel focused on the recently completed $511 million tax-exempt bond financing undertaken by the City of Fort Lauderdale for the construction of a new water treatment plant under a P3 arrangement between the city and a consortium led by IDE Water Assets.

“Under the right circumstances, there’s a significant benefit to addressing these environmental and business challenges with the P3 approach. It’s truly a collaborative partnership that can serve all parties well during the term of the P3 arrangement,” said Albert A. del Castillo, a Public Finance & Infrastructure shareholder in the firm’s Miami office, who served as bond counsel on the Fort Lauderdale water treatment plant financing.

“The water industry is becoming very challenging these days with increasingly stricter regulations,” said Lily Teuerstein, CEO of IDE Water Assets. “I think this is why it is one of the most appropriate markets for collaboration between private and public sectors.”

IDE Technologies is a world leader provider of desalination and water treatment solutions. The company specializes in the development, engineering, construction, and operation of some of the world’s largest and most advanced thermal and membrane desalination facilities and industrial water treatment plants.

Other panelists at the event included:

  • Greg Chavarria, city manager, City of Fort Lauderdale
  • Tomer Efrat, vice president – research and development, IDE Technologies
  • Sergio Masvidal, managing director, PFM Financial Advisors
  • Lyon “Lenny” Roth, chairman & co-founder of Yarotek
  • Virginia Walsh, Ph.D., P.G., hydrogeologist, Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department

About Greenberg Traurig’s Environmental Practice: Greenberg Traurig’s Environmental Practice represents clients with issues under the environmental and natural resource laws that affect their businesses. The firm’s environmental attorneys assist with securing permits and approvals; negotiating and closing transactions; defending clients in enforcement actions; handling a broad range of environmental and toxic tort litigation; ensuring the understanding and satisfaction of regulatory requirements; preparing for and responding to emergencies; crafting approaches for legacy cleanup issues; and developing solutions for product regulation, market access, and environmental policy challenges. Greenberg Traurig received a first-tier ranking in the "Environmental Law" and "Litigation — Environmental" categories in the U.S. News - Best Lawyers 2024 "Best Law Firms" report and was selected as “Practice Group of the Year” by Law360 for 2022.

About Greenberg Traurig: Greenberg Traurig, LLP has more than 2750 attorneys in 47 locations in the United States, Europe and the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia. The firm is a 2022 BTI “Highly Recommended Law Firm” for superior client service and is consistently among the top firms on the Am Law Global 100 and NLJ 500. Greenberg Traurig is Mansfield Rule 6.0 Certified Plus by The Diversity Lab. The firm is recognized for powering its U.S. offices with 100% renewable energy as certified by the Center for Resource Solutions Green-e® Energy program and is a member of the U.S. EPA’s Green Power Partnership Program. The firm is known for its philanthropic giving, innovation, diversity, and pro bono. Web: