Nov 18, 2020

Nevada City Wastewater Treatment Plant Faces Continued Violations

The Nevada City Wastewater Treatment Plant is facing 132 violations and must complete all required upgrades by Mar. 31.

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The Nevada City Wastewater Treatment Plant is facing 132 violations. 

The plant made a deal in March with the state water board to make $177,973 worth of upgrades, instead of facing $147,000 in fines, reported the Union News. This penalty is for more than 50 violations between May 2018 and May 2019.

The mandated upgrades include: installing automatic cleaning mechanisms to minimize algae buildup; repairing leaking pipes; improving its equalization system to deal with periods of high flow; and hiring a consultant to review plant operations. These upgrades are about 80% complete, according to Nevada City Engineer Bryan McAlister.

“We saw almost immediate results and haven’t had any significant violation in about a year,” said McAlister, adding that approximately $120,000 has been spent on the plant this year.

Since the deal was made, the plant has had six serious violations and three chronic violations stemming from effluent emissions above its permitted standards, as well as an additional violation for not meeting reporting requirements.

The effluent violations were specifically for exceeding the limitations for dichlorobromomethane (DCBM) and total coliform. The plant faced similar violations in the past, agreeing to a compliance agreement in June 2018 instead of paying a $54,000 fine. This was for 18 violations between January 2016 and March 2018. For this compliance agreement, the plant repaired its sand filtration system and improved pump and plumbing repairs for about $68,000, reported the Union.

According to McAlister, the continued violations are partly a product of the plant’s operations, which uses chlorine instead of ultraviolet (UV) light. 

In its latest two monitoring reports, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board found violations at the Nevada City plant that required mandatory minimum penalties. The board has agree to hold off on penalties for DCBMs while it determines whether it would be appropriate to increase the maximum allowable limit in water discharged into Deer Creek.

The plant must complete all required upgrades by Mar. 31, reported the Union.

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