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EPA Orders Charlton, Mass. Facility to Cease Wastewater Discharges

Release Date: 03/18/2003
Contact Information: Andrew Spejewski, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1014

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has issued an administrative order to the Masonic Nursing Home, of Charlton, Mass., requiring the facility to shut down its underperforming sewage treatment system and complete a project connecting the facility to the municipal sewer system. The Clean Water Act order gives the facility until September 1, 2003 to complete the project.

The Masonic Nursing Home owns and operates a 22,000 gallons per day wastewater treatment facility to treat sewage from the facility. The facility discharges treated wastewater to an unnamed tributary of the Quinebaug River.

Inspections by EPA and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, most recently in January 2003, show that over the years the Masonic Home consistently failed to meet its permit limits. Discharges have exceeded permit limits for biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), total suspended solids, total ammonia nitrogen, total phosphorus, total residual chlorine, fecal coliform, and whole effluent toxicity.

The Masonic Home is in the process of connecting to the Charlton municipal sewer system and shutting down its existing wastewater treatment facility as part of a larger plan to expand its business.

"This order will ensure that the Masonic Home stops polluting the river, while still being able to continue its operations," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England Office.

The administrative order does not prevent EPA from pursuing penalties for the permit violations.