Bangor, Maine Clean Water Act (CWA) Settlement
(Boston – August 26, 2015) Under the terms of a Consent Decree lodged today in federal court to address noncompliance with the Clean Water Act, the City of Bangor, Maine, will take action to prevent sewer overflows and contaminated stormwater from entering the Penobscot River and Kenduskeag Stream.
- Injunctive Relief
- Health and Environmental Effects
- Civil Penalty
- State Partner
- Comment Period
Overview of Facility
Bangor is the owner of a Publicly Owned Treatment Works that includes a collection system and wastewater treatment facility (“WWTF”) that discharges to the Penobscot River. The City’s WWTF receives sanitary and process wastewater from residential, commercial and industrial facilities within the City and also the neighboring towns of Hampden and Hermon. The MEPDES also authorizes the City to discharge untreated sanitary/stormwater from nine CSO outfalls to the Penobscot River and Kenduskeag Stream when flows exceed the total primary and secondary capacity at the WWTF.
The City of Bangor Maine has violated Section 301 of the Clean Water Act. Bangor previously complied fully with the terms of a 1991 consent decree but remained in violation. Under the 1991 consent decree, the City was required to implement CSO control projects in accordance with an approved CSO Long Term Control Plan. It is EPA’s position that Bangor’s remaining CSO discharges are continuing to cause water quality violations in the Kenduskeag and Penobscot Rivers, a violation of the MEPDES Permit. There are also certain other unauthorized discharges from the City’s collection system during wet weather, including a number of sanitary sewer overflows (“SSOs”).
The proposed consent decree’s injunctive relief compliance program includes instituting capacity management operations and maintenance (“CMOM”) programs, conducting sewer system evaluations studies (“SSES”), constructing capital improvement projects, implementing sewer system remedial measures and a more thorough IDDE program within the City’s MS4. The City’s entire sanitary sewer system will be inspected within the next 15 years. The City will also identify and take remedial measures to reduce these flows in order to minimize and eventually eliminate sanitary sewer overflows. Capital improvement projects should result in the elimination of the City’s combined sewer overflow discharges by the year 2031.
Health and Environmental Effects
CSO and SSO discharges contain human waste bi-products such as fecal coliform, Biochemical Oxygen Demand, and pharmaceuticals that can cause environmental harm and degradation to the receiving body’s designated uses and natural ecosystem.
Civil Penalty (Second Consent Decree)
The City paid a civil penalty of $40,000 for CWA violations in the 1991 Consent Decree. Given the City’s full implementation of the 1991 consent decree, and willingness to fully fund and perform additional work pursuant to a new CD, no penalty is warranted or included as part of the settlement. Further, the City has not received any economic benefit from noncompliance.
The State of Maine is a co-plaintiff.
The proposed settlement, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine , is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. Information on submitting comment is available at the Department of Justice website.
For more information, contact:
Lourdes Bufill, Attorney
Water Enforcement Division
1200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW (Mail Code 2243-A)
Washington, DC 20460