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South Hadley Settles Clean Water Act Violations

Release Date: 07/25/2008
Contact Information: Paula Ballentine (617) 918-1027

(Boston, Mass. - July 25, 2008) The Town of South Hadley, Massachusetts will pay a $20,000 fine and perform two Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) at a cost of approximately 83,500 to resolve federal Clean Water Act (CWA) violations related to the operation of its wastewater treatment facility and its combined storm water and sanitary sewer system.

During heavy rain events, water flows in the Town’s sewer system exceeded its capacity and excess flow was discharged from three Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) outfalls into tributaries of the Connecticut River.

According to EPA’s New England office, the Town violated the terms of its water permit from January 2003 to July 2005 when it failed to measure and record all discharges from the system’s CSO outfalls. Although the discharges from the CSO outfalls themselves are not prohibited by the Town’s water permit, the Town is required to closely monitor and record all discharges from the outfalls.

“These Clean Water Act violations prevented the EPA and the Town from knowing the quantity of pollutants being discharged into the Connecticut River and its tributaries,” noted Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Furthermore, all permit holders must ensure that they are complying with their annual certification requirements.”

The Town has been under order from EPA since 1995 to work towards separating its sanitary sewers from its storm water sewers and eliminating all discharges from the CSO outfalls. The Town has steadily eliminated CSO outfalls since that time and eliminated discharges from the final CSO outfall on December 31, 2007.

EPA’s complaint also alleged that the Town failed to fully comply with conditions related to control of storm water discharges from the treatment plant facility. The Town has corrected those deficiencies.

In addition to paying a $20,000 penalty, the Town will perform two SEPs. First the Town will design, engineer and install storm water control structures, beyond what is required in its Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit, in efforts to mitigate impacts of storm water discharges at and in the vicinity of the Hillside Avenue Crossing of Buttery Brook (a Connecticut River Tributary). Secondly, the Town will conduct a baseline water quality assessment for two of the Connecticut River tributaries located within South Hadley, Stony Brook and Buttery Brook, each of which previously had an authorized CSO discharge. The Town will compile the study results and post it on its website upon completion. South Hadley has estimated that it will spend $83,500 to implement both of these projects. EPA and the Town obtained input from the Connecticut River Watershed Council in developing the SEPs.

More Information:

Clean Water Enforcement in New England (