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EPA alleges 1,400 permit limit violations by city plant
The City of Kendrick, Idaho, has reached a $3,500 settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for alleged Clean Water Act violations at the city’s wastewater treatment plant. The city owns and operates the permitted plant that discharges treated wastewater into the Potlatch River.
EPA alleges that from April 2005 through March 2009, the city’s plant had over 1,400 permit limit violations. The violations included exceeding the discharge limits for Escherichia coli (E. coli), biochemical oxygen demand, total suspended solids, pH and total residual chlorine.
According to James Werntz, EPA’s Idaho Operations office director, wastewater treatment plants can degrade Idaho’s water quality when they exceed their permit limits.
“Cities like Kendrick provide a valuable community service by treating wastewater, but they must strictly follow their permit limits,” Werntz said. “Otherwise, rivers like the Potlatch can be harmed by excess pollution.”
The city’s 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 350 people. To address the effluent permit violations, the city has improved its chlorination system and is removing the sludge buildup in the sewage lagoons, according to a release issued by EPA.
The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System 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.