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Cambridge, Md. settles Clean Water Act violations

Release Date: 12/19/2002
Contact Information: Roy Seneca 215-814-5567

Contact: Roy Seneca 215-814-5567
PHILADELPHIA – The city of Cambridge, Md. has agreed to install a state-of-the-art monitoring system at its wastewater treatment plant as part of a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over alleged Clean Water Act violations. The monitoring system will help prevent future discharge of pollutants into the Choptank River, which flows into the Chesapeake Bay.

The settlement also calls for the city to pay a $17,500 penalty for past violations of EPA’s “pretreatment regulations” that require public wastewater treatment plants to enforce requirements that limit what industrial sources can discharge to the plant for treatment. The pretreatment rules – generally enforced through permits issued by the municipality to industrial sources – are designed to avoid overburdening and disrupting the municipality’s treatment plant.

“This settlement resolves past compliance issues, and more importantly, it incorporates a monitoring system that will help keep local waterways protected,” said Donald S. Welsh, regional administrator for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region.

In its complaint, EPA alleged that Cambridge failed to adequately enforce pretreatment requirements against three industrial users of the facility: Coldwater Seafood Corp., Chun King/Nabisco Corp., and Interstate Corrpack. According to EPA:

• Coldwater violated pretreatment permit limits for oil and grease discharge 70 times from July 1996 through March 2001.

• Chun King/Nabisco exceeded its oil and grease limit 25 times from July 1996 through June 2000.

• Interstate Corrpack unlawfully discharged wastewater with ink to the Cambridge plant 28 times from April 1999 to May 2000.

The monitoring system for the treatment plant, which will cost about $560,000, exceeds federal and state environmental requirements. It will continually monitor and report on critical components of the wastewater treatment plant.

As part of the settlement, Cambridge neither admitted nor denied liability for the alleged violations, but has certified that it is now operating in compliance with applicable Clean Water Act regulations.