Melissa A. Thorme

Melissa A. Thorme


For 25 years, industrial and municipal clients have regularly turned to Melissa Thorme to assist in resolving their environmental compliance issues and negotiating or litigating their regulatory enforcement actions.

She counsels numerous businesses, including marinas and boat yards, lumber companies, contractors, auto dismantlers, small manufacturing companies, agricultural entities, and oil field waste disposal facilities, in addition to sanitation districts, counties, and cities throughout California on matters related to NPDES, waste, and recycled water discharge permitting and waivers, TMDLs, and enforcement actions brought by regulatory agencies or in Clean Water Act/Prop. 65 citizen suits. She also assists with stormwater drainage matters for public agencies, vineyards, food processors, and equine and dairy businesses.

With a specific focus on stormwater and wastewater regulatory compliance issues, Melissa has successfully challenged several discharge permits and enforcement actions before administrative agencies and in state and federal courts, with two consolidated permit appeal cases for the cities of Los Angeles and Burbank receiving a published opinion in the California Supreme Court.  Melissa has also successfully litigated challenges to invalidate state and U.S. EPA water quality standards set in the Central Valley and Los Angeles regions, and has negotiated numerous settlement agreements for various clients.  In addition to water-related law, Melissa also has experience in complex litigation, CEQA, land use planning, real estate transactions, site investigation and remediation, endangered species compliance, 404 dredge and fill projects, and 401 certification processing.

Professional, Community And Pro Bono Involvement

  • Member, American Bar Association, 1991- present
  • Member, State Bar of California, Environmental Law Section
  • Member,  California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA), Attorneys Committee and Federal Legislative Committee
  • Member, California Stormwater Quality Association (CASQA)
  • Salespersons License Holder since 1986, California Department of Real Estate
  • Community Club Leader, Norwood 4-H Club (Yolo County), 2012-2014; 4-H Project Leader 2004-present
  • Former Chair, Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), Clean Water Sub-Committee and TMDL Workgroup
  • Former Facilitator, Sacramento River Toxic Pollutant Control Program Subcommittees
  • Former President, Riparian Improvement Organization (RIO)
  • Tulane University School of Law, Environmental Advocacy class, Former Instructor and Environmental Law Fellow/Co-Director of Environmental Law Clinic

Honors And Rankings

  • Sacramento Magazine’s Top Lawyers List, 2015 – Environmental 
  • Martindale Hubbell “AV® Preeminent™” Rating – 5.0 out of 5.0 and listed on Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers
  • Best Lawyers in America®, 2008 - present
  • Selected as a “Super Lawyer®” in Environmental Litigation – 2006, 2012-13
  • Recipient of two LiFE awards for environmental literature
  • Roscoe Hogan Environmental Law Essay Contest, Winner
  • LEXIS Excellence in Writing Award, Winner

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