I’ve been thinking about the numerous Clean Water Act (CWA) violations we read about—too many to keep up on.
I have received many news stories listing suits that end in guilty verdicts. In August, a major order from the EPA fell heavy on the shoulders of General Electric Co. (GE), which was ordered to remove toxic waste from the Hudson River. The company was found responsible for dumping as much as 1.3 million pounds of toxic waste into the river prior to 1977. The clean up of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) will cover as much as a 40-mile stretch of river and will cost GE at least $460 million. Residents are concerned of the economical and environmental impact the dredging will cause for the area. The EPA plans to address these concerns by measuring PCB levels in the soil and water column as well as measuring the percentage of dredged material that is resuspended and evaluate the project based on the results from each stage.
GE is not the only group facing consequences. Daniel Axe of Indiana pleaded guilty to charges of CWA violations by pumping liquid containing gasoline from his service station into a city sewer. Axe’s actions lead to a fire and explosion in the sewer system and the removal and replacement of contents of the sewage plant.
A Louisiana company, Discovery Aluminas, Inc., pleaded guilty to violating the state water law after previously pleading guilty to federal CWA violations. It’s punishment results in fines adding up to almost $400,000 (federal violations resulted in $700,000). The company had discharged wastewater contaminated with hexanol and other materials into Intracoastal Waterway.
It is cases like these that open the public’s eyes to the contaminants that may be in their drinking water. Despite the regulations set for treatment plants, the general public will find itself focusing on the negative and seeking additional treatment from our industry. This spells opportunity for water treatment dealers to illustrate how their services can benefit the public.
On page 13, Carl Davidson suggests that you take advantage of water testing for your customers to help insure that final sale. Actually show your customers what their water needs are, where their water can be improved and provide them with the best quality water you can. I think that everyone in the water industry can help protect customers from further guilty parties.
Wendi Hope King
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