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Facilities Across the Southeast Ordered to Stop Discharging and Comply with Clean Water Act

Release Date: 01/13/2011
Contact Information: Davina Marraccini, (404) 562-8293, marraccini.davina@epa.gov

(ATLANTA – Jan. 13, 2011) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued Administrative Orders (AOs) against seven entities in North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and South Carolina during the last quarter of 2010 for violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA).

“Controlling water pollution sources is key to protecting waterways across the Southeast and the health of all people who depend on them,” said Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming, EPA Region 4 Regional Administrator.

Three entities were cited for alleged stormwater-related violations of the CWA. Polluted stormwater runoff is a leading cause of impairment to the nearly 40 percent of surveyed U.S. water bodies which do not meet water quality standards. Over land or via storm sewer systems, polluted runoff is discharged, often untreated, directly into local water bodies. The entities cited and their associated violations include:

      YDV, Inc., for violations at the Compass Pointe Phases 2, 3 and 11 sites in Leland, N.C.;
      Marion Retail Investments, LLC, for violations at its Grandview Station construction site in Marion, N.C.;
      Shelby County Schools, for violations at the Shelby County Administration Building in Arlington, Tenn.

EPA issued AOs requiring the violators to conduct a variety of remediation activities, including revising and implementing their Construction Pollution Prevention Plans and Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plans; installing and maintaining Best Management Practices; conducting adequate self-inspections; ceasing sediment discharges; and addressing areas where sediment had been discharged.

The City of Oak Ridge, Tenn., was cited for unauthorized discharges of sewage from the wastewater collection and transmission system. Sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) like these pose a significant threat to public health and the environment, and remain a leading cause of water quality impairment. SSOs contain raw sewage and have high concentrations of bacteria from fecal contamination, as well as disease-causing pathogens and viruses. Besides being illegal under the CWA, the SSOs also constitute a failure to comply with the requirements of the utility’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit. EPA issued an AO requiring the utility to address wet weather capacity-related issues in the sewer system. In addition, the order requires the development of management, operation and maintenance programs.

Licking River Resources, Inc. and Clintwood Elkhorn Mining Company were each cited for unauthorized discharges of wastewater associated with their surface mining and/or coal processing and preparation plants in West Liberty and Phyllis, Ky., respectively. The Mullins Branch Preparation Plant in West Liberty discharges wastewater into Mullins Branch, while the Miller’s Creek Mine Plant in Phyllis discharges wastewater into Miller’s Creek. Under the CWA, such discharges require a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, and EPA has ordered each facility to cease all unpermitted discharges into waters of the United States.

EPA issued an AO for violations of the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations requirements of the CWA at a dairy operation known as Lee Mayer #1 in Newberry, S.C. The order requires the owner, Mayer Farms, Inc., to cease the discharge of pollutants from the facility and come into compliance with the land-application requirements in accordance with its Waste Management Plan and permit. The AO also requires Mayer Farms to provide quarterly sampling reports for its waste, and for its crops and harvest plants to determine nutrient levels.

Congress enacted the Clean Water Act (CWA) in 1972 to protect the nation’s rivers, lakes and stream, as well as some of the more fragile and vital wetland habitats. The entities cited violated the CWA by failing to meet the requirements of their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, and subsequently causing point source discharges. Pollutants of concern include nutrients, sediment, oil and grease, chemicals and metals. When left uncontrolled, water pollution can deplete needed oxygen and/or otherwise result in the destruction of aquatic habitats, as well as the fish and wildlife that depend on them. Water pollution can also contaminate food, drinking water supplies and recreational waterways, and thereby pose a threat to public health.