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EPA orders Northern California sewer district and industries to sample discharges

Release Date: 11/13/2003
Contact Information: Laura Gentile, Press Office, (415) 947-4227

El Dorado Irrigation District required to regulate industrial wastes

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently ordered the El Dorado Irrigation District in Placerville, Calif. and three Placer county industries to analyze their discharges to local sewer systems, as required by the Clean Water Act.

"Small cities, and their wastewater treatment plants, are particularly vulnerable to the effects of toxic industrial wastewater discharges into the sewers," said Alexis Strauss, the director of the EPA's water division in San Francisco.

The EPA order requires the El Dorado District to develop a program to regulate industrial wastes being sent to their two sewage treatment plants. The order also requires the district and three Auburn industries -- Coherent Inc., Sierra Plating and Carpenter Advanced Ceramics -- to monitor and report the volume and chemical composition of wastes for one year.

The district and industries are required to comply with the EPA's pretreatment program by next September, or face fines of up to $27,500 per day.

The EPA's pretreatment program requires that industries treat toxic chemicals in their wastewater before sending the waste to the local treatment system. Local plants can malfunction or break down if untreated chemicals are sent through these systems.

The EPA has taken similar actions over the past year in El Dorado Hills, Red Bluff, Grass Valley and Nevada City in an effort to protect treatment plants across California from the harmful effects of industrial wastes.