U.S. to Join Action Against Boston Water and Sewer Commission
U.S. filed complaint to join case filed by Conservation Law Foundation
The United States, on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, filed a Motion to Intervene in U.S. District Court in a case against the Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) for violations of the Clean Water Act. The United States is seeking to join a case filed earlier this year by the Conservation Law Foundation.
The complaint included with the United States’ motion alleges violations of the Clean Water Act involving the discharge of raw sewage and other pollutants to the Mystic River, Charles River, Neponset River and other rivers and streams tributary to Boston Harbor. According to the allegations, these discharges have occurred through both illegal sewer connections to the BWSC storm drain system and sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) that discharge to the BWSC storm drain system or directly to local surface waters.
In addition, the complaint alleges BWSC failed to meet or implement a number of requirements of its Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Phase I Permit issued in 1999, including the identification and expeditious removal of illicit discharges of sewage to the BWSC storm drain system, violations of water quality standards in its storm water discharges and the failure to implement a number of programs required by the permit, such as a program to inspect storm water controls at construction sites throughout the city of Boston.
The United States joins the Conservation Law Foundation in seeking injunctive relief in the form of significantly increased resources for BWSC to identify and expeditiously remove all illicit connections, implement storm water best management practices to mitigate concentrations of pollutants to the maximum extent practicable, establish programs necessary to meet permit conditions and take actions necessary to mitigate and prevent SSOs.
The Conservation Law Foundation complaint filed earlier this year, together with field work conducted by EPA staff, spurred EPA to look at a number of issues; the result of this examination is the motion filed in U.S. District Court this week.
In addition to the requested relief described above, the complaint seeks a civil penalty.