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Attleboro Mass. stops illegal discharge from its Drinking Water Facility under federal Clean Water Act Settlement

Release Date: 06/12/2014
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

BOSTON – The City of Attleboro, Mass. has taken steps to ensure that its drinking water treatment facility operates consistent with federal Clean Water Act requirements for wastewater management, under a settlement reached with EPA for illegal wastewater discharges from the Russell F. Tennant Water Treatment Facility. The City will also pay a $32,000 fine under the terms of the settlement.

An EPA inspection in May 2013 discovered that the city was illegally discharging wastewater from the Facility’s water treatment process tanks that would contain aluminum among other pollutants. As part of the treatment process, the Facility adds certain chemicals, including the coagulant polyaluminum chloride, to the water. Effluent from that process is normally sent to the City’s wastewater treatment plant. Once a year, the water treatment facility cleans out its pretreatment basins. EPA inspectors discovered that the pretreatment basins were being cleaned at the time of their inspection and that a fire hose connected to one of the Facility’s pretreatment tanks was discharging the effluent directly to a storm drain system and retention pond and, from there, through a pipe to Orr’s Pond, the City’s drinking water supply.

Under the federal Clean Water Act, all facilities that discharge pollutants from any point source into waters of the United States are required to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The permit ensures that there are adequate controls in place to make sure the discharge is safe and that humans and aquatic life are being protected. The Facility did not have a NPDES permit for its discharge.

The discharge of the effluent from the Facility’s water treatment plant directly to the City’s storm system is also a violation of the prohibition against non-storm water connections to the storm system contained in the City’s stormwater management ordinance.

The discharge to the storm system was stopped and the effluent is now sent to the wastewater treatment plant.

More Information:

- EPA Clean Water enforcement: http://www2.epa.gov/enforcement/water-enforcement#cwa

- Report a Violation: http://www2.epa.gov/enforcement/report-environmental-violations

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