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News Releases from Region 10

EPA, Seattle truck repair firm settle water pollution case

Contact Information: 
Mark MacIntyre/EPA Seattle 206-553-7302/206-369-7999 (macintyre.mark@epa.gov)

Company updates wastewater management system following Seattle Public Utilities & EPA inspections

(SEATTLE - May 13, 2015) Western Peterbilt, LLC, a Seattle truck sales and repair shop, has reached a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stemming from violations of the federal Clean Water Act. As part of the settlement, the company has agreed to pay $129,000 penalty for allowing both process wastewater and polluted stormwater to be discharged to the Seattle stormwater system without a permit.

Western Peterbilt, LLC (WPL) is the current operator of the full service truck sales and service facility with a parts department, service department and a body shop located at 3707 Airport Way South in Seattle. Western Peterbilt, Inc. (WPI) WPL's predecessor, operated this facility during the period covered by this settlement.

On May 24, 2012, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) conducted dye tests in the facility's wastewater system and on May 31, 2012, that dye surfaced near the intersection of 7th Avenue South and South Charlestown Street in Seattle. SPU's further investigation confirmed the existence of a cross connection linking WPI's process wastewater from an oil water separator, wash pad and internal trench drain, directly to the city of Seattle's stormwater system, which is not legal.

SPU issued WPI a Notice of Violation (NOV) and then entered into a voluntary compliance agreement with WPI, requiring the company to clean the stormwater systems near the facility and to permanently plug the connections between the facility's process wastewater handling system and the City of Seattle stormwater system.

Following the resolution of the SPU case, WPI promptly eliminated the illicit connection and filled the pipe with concrete. They now collect process wastewater at the site and ship it offsite for treatment. Later, EPA inspectors reviewed the case, performed their own inspection and levied the penalty, since there was a clear violation of the NPDES provision of the Clean Water Act.

The NPDES permitting system is a national program under Section 402 of the Clean Water Act, regulating pollutant discharges from point sources to waters of the United States. Discharges are illegal unless authorized by an NPDES permit. In Washington, the Washington Department of Ecology normally manages the NPDES permitting and enforcement program, but EPA always retains the authority to conduct compliance and enforcement actions.

For a copy of the settlement document: http://tinyurl.com/lwsfrns

For more about EPA's role in protecting water quality: http://www2.epa.gov/enforcement/water-enforcement