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EPA orders Scranton to address chronic sewer overflows

Release Date: 12/4/2002
Contact Information: Roy Seneca 215-814-5567

Contact: Roy Seneca 215-814-5567
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered the City of Scranton, Pa., the Scranton Sewer Authority, and American Water Services, Inc. to correct sewer infrastructure and operation and maintenance problems that have contributed to illegal sewage discharges from the city’s sewer system. (American Water Services is a contractor that manages the sewer authority.)

EPA has been working with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to address chronic discharges of raw sewage from more than 70 discharge points in the Scranton sewer system into local waterways, including Lackawanna River, Roaring Brook, Stafford Meadow Brook, Little Roaring Brook, Roaring Brook, and Keyser Creek.

EPA’s Clean Water Act order requires Scranton, the sewer authority, and its contractor to evaluate, repair and maintain Scranton’s combined sewer system, which collects storm water runoff, domestic sewage, and industrial wastewater in a single sewer system linked to the city’s wastewater treatment facility.

EPA’s order also requires Scranton to take steps toward eliminating combined sewer overflows (CSOs) that discharge contaminated storm water and untreated human and industrial waste to local waterways. These discharges contaminate waters with bacteria, pathogens and other harmful pollutants, which can seriously degrade water quality, killing aquatic life and threatening public health.

Among other things, the order requires Scranton, the sewer authority and American Water Services:

• to ensure the wastewater treatment facility is maintained and operated at full capacity;

• to install controls to prevent the discharge of solids from CSO discharge points;
• to eliminate CSO discharges during dry weather conditions;
• to revise their long term plan for improvements to the collection system and treatment plant;
• to take adequate enforcement action to ensure that industrial dischargers to the system comply with their discharge permits;
• and to implement repairs to various components of the system.