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Town of Greenwich, Conn. to Pay Penalty and Fix Wastewater Infrastructure

Release Date: 04/27/2011
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Apr. 27, 2011) – Under a settlement between the United States, state of Connecticut, and the town of Greenwich, Conn., the town will pay a $200,000 penalty and rehabilitate a critical wastewater collection system that serves three of the town’s major wastewater pump stations.  The agreement settles allegations of Clean Water Act violations by the town stemming from two major ruptures of the town’s sewage system.

On Oct. 14, 2005, the town’s Old Greenwich Common Force Main ruptured and released 14.5 million gallons of raw sewage into the Cos Cob Harbor, a tributary to the Long Island Sound. The same force main ruptured again on Dec. 16, 2008, releasing 28 million gallons of raw sewage into Cos Cob Harbor.

Under the settlement lodged in federal district court in Hartford today, in addition to paying a $200,000 penalty to be split equally between the federal and state governments, the town will replace the section of the force main which previously failed.  The town will also evaluate the need to replace other sections of the force main that have not been replaced in the past.  In the event another rupture to the force main occurs, the agreement requires the town to pay additional penalties and replace some or all of the older sections of the force main – depending on the circumstances of the rupture. 

The settlement further requires the town to develop a strategy for communicating with other entities, such as utilities, to facilitate emergency repairs of the force main that may be required in the future.

“EPA expects all municipalities to pay particular attention to critical elements of their wastewater infrastructure.  As this situation showed, a failure in the system can result in millions of gallons of untreated sewage being released directly to the environment,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator for EPA’s New England office.

“It is the continued goal of my office to ensure that the rivers of the state and the Long Island Sound are protected from pollution and we will continue to work cooperatively with our federal counterparts to enforce the laws that protect our water resources,” said Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen. He credited Assistant Attorney General John Looney for his work on the case.

More information: Enforcing Clean Water requirements in New England (http://www.epa.gov/region1/enforcement/water/index.html)

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