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EPA PROPOSES $75,000 PENALTY FOR WASTEWATER TREATMENT VIOLATIONS ON CHARLES RIVER

Release Date: 04/01/1999
Contact Information: Amy Miller, EPA Press Office (617-918-1042)

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a $75,000 penalty against a wastewater treatment district in southeastern Massachusetts for failing to adequately regulate industries that discharge into the system, as required by its federal discharge permit.

EPA's New England Office has charged the Charles River Pollution Control District (CRPCD) with failing to meet requirements included in its permit to discharge 4.5 million gallons of wastewater a day into the Charles River. The district treats wastewater from the sewer systems of the towns of Franklin, Medway, Millis, Bellingham and Norfolk and discharges it into the river in Medway.

According to the EPA's March 29 administrative order, the district did not: submit required annual reports to EPA; inspect and sample all of its industrial users on a yearly basis; or identify all industrial users subject to federal standards, as it was required to do by federal law.

EPA in 1995 approved the district's "industrial pretreatment program" that was required as a condition of the discharge permit. The violations were first identified during inspections by EPA in February 1996 and June 1997.

Officials at the treatment plant were told of the violations during these inspections and in follow-up letters, according to EPA staff. After contacting district officials this January, EPA learned that the violations continued and issued the administrative order.

"Public agencies along with citizens and private industry are working hard to make the Charles River a cleaner, healthier waterway," said John P. DeVillars, EPA's New England Administrator. "Any party that disregards laws aimed at furthering this common goal will be made to pay for their wrong-doing."

In 1995, EPA's New England Office launched a major initiative to restore the Charles River so it is swimmable and fishable by the year 2005.

The administrative order requires the district to take immediate actions to update and properly list the industrial users, and to inspect all industrial users at least twice a year. In addition, the district was told to take appropriate enforcement action against violations by industrial users.