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Elk City Water and Sewer Association pays nearly $4,000 for Federal Clean Water Act violations

Release Date: 08/04/2010
Contact Information: David Domingo, Compliance and Enforcement, (206) 553-0531, domingo.david@epa.gov; Tony Brown, EPA Public Affairs, (206) 553-1203, brown.anthony@epa.gov

(Seattle – August 4, 2010) Elk City Water and Sewer Association has agreed to pay a $3,700 penalty for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act at its wastewater treatment plant, according to an order from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

From February 2005 through September 2007, the plant had over 1,181 permit limit violations. The City’s permit violations included exceeding their discharge limits for Escherichia coli (E. coli), biochemical oxygen demand, total suspended solids, pH and total residual chlorine.

Wastewater treatment plants can degrade water quality when they exceed their permit limits. The treated wastewater from the plant is discharged into Big Elk Creek, which flows into the South Fork of the Clearwater River.

“Elk City provides a valuable community service by treating wastewater, but it must strictly follow its permit limits,” said James Werntz, EPA’s Idaho Operations Office Director. “Otherwise, these discharges can harm Idaho’s streams and rivers.

The treatment plant is part of a sanitary sewer system that receives domestic wastewater from residential and commercial sources. The plant serves a community of approximately 136 people. To address the effluent permit violations, the association has reduced inflow and infiltration into their collection system and the sludge buildup in the sewage lagoons to improve treatment efficiency.

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program controls water pollution by regulating point sources such as pipes or man-made ditches that discharge pollutants to surface waters. Industrial, municipal, and other facilities must obtain permits if their discharges go directly to surface waters.

To learn more about EPA’s NPDES program, visit: http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/index.cfm

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