The U.S. EPA announced that the Town of Coulee Dam, Washington will pay $70,991 for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act at the town’s wastewater treatment plant.
EPA had said that the wastewater treatment plant failed to meet the following requirements of their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit:
- Submit monthly Discharge Monitoring Reports to EPA and the Colville Tribes
- Notify EPA and the Colville Tribes that their Operations and Maintenance Plan was developed and implemented
- Inform EPA and the Colville Tribes that their new plant had begun operations and their old plant had closed
- Apply for a new permit on time
- Provide the correct location of the discharge point
“The cultural, economic and environmental significance of the Columbia River to the western U.S. cannot be overstated,” said EPA Region 10 Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Director Ed Kowalski. “All facilities operating on the river must comply with the law to safeguard this critical watershed and be good neighbors to the Colville Tribes and the many other communities that depend on it.”
EPA investigations began in 2019 when, the agency says, the treatment plant did not submit required Discharge Monitoring Reports.
DMRs help track the amount of pollution discharged from permitted facilities into waterways like the Columbia River. A facility’s permit assigns values for the type and amount of pollutants it is allowed to discharge.
Without the timely submittal of DMRs, EPA cannot monitor if wastewater treatment plants are complying with permits, effectively treating wastewater, and preventing excess pollution from entering the river.
Follow-up investigations found that the wastewater treatment plant failed additional conditions of the NPDES permit.