The city of Lewes, Del. will pay a $33,000 penalty and complete a $22,000 project to improve water quality monitoring under a consent agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over alleged violations at the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
Under a Clean Water Act permit issued by Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the plant discharges treated wastewater into the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal, which flows into Rehoboth Bay.
EPA cited the plant for exceeding permit discharge limits on several pollutants, including fecal coliform, total suspended solids, total residual chlorine, and biochemical oxygen demand during at least 23 months over a five-year period. EPA also alleged significant illegal bypasses of the plant’s treatment system where sewage was discharged without full treatment.
In addition to the $33,000 penalty, Lewes will complete a $22,000 supplemental environmental project to monitor the level of dissolved oxygen in Lewes-Rehoboth Canal. This monitoring, which exceeds the requirements of federal and state law, will improve the water quality data available to government agencies and citizens.
This action addresses the penalty portions of EPA’s response to the alleged violations. The city has complied thus far with EPA’s January 2003 administrative order that requires it to upgrade the treatment plant so that it is in compliance with EPA discharge regulations by April 2007. As part of the settlement, the city of Lewes has neither admitted nor denied liability for the cited violations.