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EPA PROPOSES $30,000 WASTEWATER TREATMENT FINE FOR LITCHFIELD

Release Date: 10/23/1997
Contact Information: Leo Kay, Press Office, (617) 918-4154

BOSTON -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed a penalty of $30,000 against the Town of Litchfield, Conn. for discharging high levels of chlorine from its wastewater treatment plant into the Bantam River in violation of the federal Clean Water Act.

From May 1992 through September of 1996, Litchfield exceeded its chlorine wastewater limits 27 percent of the time the limits were in effect. The proposed penalty is based on the town's discharge monitoring reports, as well as other information Litchfield officials submitted to the EPA.

"A little chlorine in wastewater serves a useful purpose, but too much does more harm than good. The high levels of chlorine that flowed from the Litchfield Treatment Plant into the Bantam could easily have injured fish and other aquatic resources," said John P. DeVillars, administrator of the EPA's New England office.

Chlorine is typically added to the waste water to reduce bacteria levels, but at certain levels the compound itself can be toxic in the aquatic environment. Therefore, federal and state regulators place limitations on chlorine levels as a safeguard for aquatic organisms.

This case is one of a number the EPA is taking against New England municipalities for violating chlorine limits at wastewater treatment plants. The EPA issued similar complaints to Naugatuck, Meriden, and Portland, Conn.; Ayer, Mass. and the Wells Sanitary District in Wells, Maine.