Sewer Authority Agrees to Upgrade Wastewater Treatment Plant, Pay $3,750 Penalty

May 10, 2004

The East Norriton-Plymouth-Whitpain (Pa.) Joint Sewer Authority has settled Clean Water Act violations at the authority's wastewater treatment plant in Plymouth Meeting, Montgomery County, Pa.

In a consent agreement with EPA, the authority has agreed to improve environmental safeguards at the plant, and pay a $3,750 penalty for past violations. The authority's facility treats sewage and industrial wastewater from three municipalities, and discharges treated wastewater into the Schuylkill River.

Under the Clean Water Act, some public wastewater treatment plants enforcea "pretreatment" program, requiring industrial users to limit pollutants discharged to the plants. The pretreatment standards — which are enforced through permits issued to industrial users — reduce water pollution by reducing burdens on the plants' wastewater treatment capacity.

In its September 29, 2003 complaint, EPA alleged that the authority failed to issue valid pretreatment permits in 2002 to four industrial users of the facility: Handy & Harmon Tube Company, Mercy Suburban Hospital, Valley Forge Medical Center, and Stroehmann Bakeries. EPA also alleged that on 15 occasions between October 1998 and May 2002, the authority's treatment plan exceeded permit limits on the discharge of total suspended solids, fecal coliform, and nitrogen/ammonia.

In its consent agreement with EPA, the authority agreed to complete two supplemental environmental projects that exceed federal and state environmental requirements. First, the authority will implement a new plant monitoring system, and second, the authority will install a chlorine residual analyzer, which will reduce the amount of chlorine needed for fecal coliform disinfection, thereby reducing total chlorine discharge into the Schuylkill River.

As part of the settlement, the authority has neither admitted nor denied liability for the cited violations.

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency