U.S. EPA finalizes order with California treatment plant

May 24, 2024
The U.S. EPA finalizes order with California Department of Corrections regarding a treatment plant.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has entered into an Administrative Order on Consent with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for claims of Clean Water Act violations at the California Men’s Colony drinking water treatment facility in San Luis Obispo, California.

The order addresses the plant’s unauthorized discharges of filter backwash water to Chorro Reservoir in violations of the Clean Water Act.

Filter backwash discharges into the Chorro Reservois amounted to approximately 35,000 to 70,000 gallons per day during discharge events and contained pollutants such as chlorine and sediment.

Under the order announced by the EPA, the California Men’s Colony will be required to submit a compliance plan to the EPA for approval. The plan will require describing how the facility will cease unlawful filter backwash dicharges to Chorro Reservoir, how it will dispose of filter backwash fluids, and how it will dispose of filter backwash sludge.

The California Men’s Colony will be required to implement the plan upon its approval by EPA, and the plan will become enforceable part of the Administrative Order on Consent.

This marks the second Administrative Order on Consent entered into between the EPA and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation within the past year.

In September 2023, the EPA and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation entered into a separate Administrative Order on Consent to address other violations of the Clean Water Act at the California Men’s Colony.

The prior violations included discharges from the prison’s wastewater treatment system with pollutant concentrations exceeding permitted limits, and unpermitted discharges from the prison’s drinking water treatment facility.

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