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American Falls, Idaho Water System Fined

Release Date: 12/18/1997
Contact Information: David Allnutt
allnutt.david@epamail.epa.gov
(206) 553-2581 or (800) 424-4372


December 18, 1997 - - - - - - - - - - 97-77



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A $9,000 civil penalty is being sought from the owners and operators of the Garden Grove Estates water system in American Falls, Idaho, for violations of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The violations were alleged in a complaint issued late last week by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The water system's owners and operators -- the Sunbeam Water Company and Rodney Parrish and R. Michael Parrish, all of Pocatello -- are said by the complaint to have ignored a September 1996 order from EPA to meet a number of EPA requirements that are designed to protect the health of people using the water at Garden Grove Estates.

According to the complaint, the Garden Grove system provided water with total coliform bacteria in excess of federal drinking water standards. Total coliform bacteria are indicators that the water may be contaminated with organisms that can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea and, possibly, jaundice.

EPA also alleged that the Parrishes failed, as the 1996 order required, to conduct ongoing monitoring for total coliform bacteria, volatile organic chemicals, inorganic chemicals, and lead and copper.

The Garden Grove water system consists of 25 connections that serve approximately 80 residents.

The complaint against the Sunbeam Water Company and the Parrishes is an administrative action, according to Larry Worley, manager of EPA's drinking water unit at the agency's Northwest regional headquarters in Seattle.

Worley noted that the Garden Grove Estates system has been a source of concern to EPA since the early 1990's.

"The Parrishes and Sunbeam have ignored repeated requests and orders to come into compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act," said Worley. "By disregarding their obligations under the law, they have placed their customers at risk."

Worley said that the Idaho Division of Environmental Quality (IDEQ) took enforcement action earlier this month against the Garden Grove Estates system. The IDEQ action focused on the failure of Sunbeam and the Parrishes to upgrade the system.

The EPA complaint gives the Parrishes and Sunbeam 20 days to either pay the $9,000 penalty or to seek a formal hearing in which they could challenge the EPA allegations. The EPA administrative process allows them to request an informal conference that could lead to a settlement.
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