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The Metropolitan District to Pay Penalty and Meet More Protective Emission Limits at its Sewage Sludge Incinerators Under Proposed Clean Air Act Settlement with EPA

05/26/2021
Contact Information: 
Mikayla Rumph (rumph.mikayla@epa.gov)
(617) 918-1016

HARTFORD, CONN. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) reached a proposed settlement with The Metropolitan District (MDC), headquartered in Hartford, Conn., for violations of the Clean Air Act. Under the proposed consent decree filed in Federal District Court, the MDC will pay a civil penalty of $298,000 and will be required to come into compliance with Clean Air Act emission limits and monitoring requirements to limit the amount of air pollution emitted from the MDC’s sewage sludge incinerators (SSIs).

“This proposed settlement provides important benefits for communities in and around Hartford,” said EPA New England Acting Regional Administrator Deborah Szaro. “Historically, urban areas like Hartford may have had more air emissions due to industrial and transportation sources. Through enforcement, EPA commits to addressing Environmental Justice concerns and ensures entities like the MDC comply with clean air regulations to reduce air pollution and continue to improve public health protection.”

The MDC provides potable water and sewerage services to the greater Hartford area. At its Hartford location, the MDC processes sewage waste from Hartford and seven other neighboring communities. Its three sewage sludge incinerators reduce the volume of sewage sludge through incineration and, in doing so, emit a variety of air pollutants. Under the federal Clean Air Act rules that came into effect in 2011, an owner of an SSI that makes changes over the life of the unit that cost more than 50% of the original cost must meet more stringent emissions standards. EPA alleged that the MDC was subject to the more stringent standards but had failed to meet them. The compliance plan and schedule, set forth in the proposed consent decree, will require compliance with the more stringent emissions standards for nine air pollutants.

Under the proposed settlement, the MDC will be held to more stringent New Source Performance Standards for mercury, lead, cadmium, dioxins and furans, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and nitrogen oxides. The proposed settlement is also consistent with EPA Administrator Michael Regan’s direction that EPA strengthen enforcement of violations of cornerstone environmental statutes in communities disproportionately impacted by pollution, with a special focus on achieving remedies with tangible benefits for the community.

The proposed consent decree lodged in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut states that the MDC must install and operate additional monitoring equipment and, by April 30, 2022, meet the more stringent CAA standards applicable to modified SSIs.

The proposed consent decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut on May 25, 2021, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court.

To provide comment during the public comment period visit: usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html

More information:

Requirements for sewage sludge incinerators: epa.gov/stationary-sources-air-pollution/sewage-sludge-incinerators-final-standards-performance-new

Clean Air Act enforcement: epa.gov/enforcement/air-enforcement

Effects of mercury pollution: epa.gov/mercury/basic-information-about-mercury