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Release Date: 09/26/1996
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Press Office, (617) 918-1064

Boston--The New England office of the Environmental Protection Agency today imposed a deadline of November 30, 1996 for the town of Milford to investigate three storm drains that discharge to the Charles River and are thought to be the source of bacterial contamination to the river. EPA imposed an ultimate deadline of October 31, 1997 for the removal of illegal sewer connections to those storm drains. In addition, EPA is requiring Milford to locate all of its storm drains that discharge to the Charles and to sample those found to be discharging during dry weather. EPA has worked cooperatively with the town to develop the schedule for investigation and removal of illegal sewer connections.

The Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) has been monitoring river quality in the Charles, operating with partial funding from the EPA. Results of recent sampling has shown that three storm drains in the town discharge fecal coliform bacteria to the river during dry weather. The fact that storm drains discharge during dry weather conditions, and that the sampling results show high bacteria levels, are indicators of an illegal connection of a sewer pipe to the storm drain pipe. The CRWA monitoring data also shows that water quality standards for fecal coliform bacteria are exceeded upstream of the three identified storm drains and in Godfrey Brook, a tributary of the Charles.

"This enforcement action brings us closer to the goal of a fishable, swimmable Charles by Earth Day, 2005. EPA is aggressively working with communities along the Charles to systematically identify and remove sewer connections to storm drains by the end of December next year," said John P. DeVillars, administrator for EPA's New England office. "It will take a concerted effort among citizens, communities and government, working together, to reclaim this treasured resource. Together, we will meet the Earth Day, 2005 goal for a healthy river ecosystem."