Wastewater Enforcement: Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment – Environmental Quality Division and City of Tollette Enter Administrative Consent Order | Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, PLLC
The Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment – Environmental Quality Division (“DEQ”) and the City of Tollette, Arkansas (“Tollette”) have entered into an Administrative Consent Order (” CAO â€) of October 20 regarding alleged violations of a clean water law. Permis Pollution Discharge Elimination System (â€œNPDESâ€). See LIS # 21-109.
The CAO anticipates that Tollette will operate a municipal wastewater treatment facility (â€œFacilityâ€) in Howard County, Arkansas.
It is stated that the facility will discharge treated wastewater through a pipeline from the facility to Mine Creek which will eventually flow into the Red River. These releases are declared regulated by an NPDES authorization.
DEQ reportedly received a complaint on April 12 that sewage was overflowing from a manhole in Tollette.
DEQ reportedly contacted Tollette and requested written documentation of the incident and corrective actions. Tollette reportedly reported that the manhole had been emptied and that lime, degreaser and odor absorber had been placed near the area. Additionally, Tollette said she was working with an engineering firm to develop a plan to make necessary repairs and upgrades to the collection system.
An April 26 complaint containing photographic documentation of a sanitary sewer overflow (“SSO”) was forwarded to DEQ. DEQ has requested an Active Corrective Plan (“ACAN”) by May 31st with a timeline of milestones / final date for compliance. A further complaint was reportedly received on May 18.
Tollette submitted a CAP with a final compliance date of August 31, 2023. The CAP was deemed adequate by DEQ.
DEQ is declared to have performed a review of the Certified Discharge Monitoring Reports (“DMR”) in accordance with Tollette’s NPDES permit. The review would have indicated a failure to perform analyzes for the monitoring period end date of November 30, 2018. This would have been a violation of Part I, Section A of the NPDES license.
DEQ performed a review of the SSOs and processing derivations reported by Tollette in accordance with the NPDES permit for the period April 1, 2018 to April 30, 2021. The review would have indicated the following:
- The respondent reported eleven (11) SSOs. The respondent is authorized to discharge treated municipal wastewater from its facility. The respondent is not authorized to discharge untreated wastewater from its collection system.
DEQ reportedly received an additional complaint on July 20 regarding the collection system.
On May 30, 2021, DEQ reportedly carried out an SSO / collection system inspection of the Facility. The inspection reportedly identified the following violations:
- Emergency coordinates were not displayed at any lift station; and
- A manhole connected to the Pump Station Drive lifting station showed signs of overflow. The vegetation around the manhole was black from the sewage.
A conformity assessment inspection of the installation was reportedly carried out on 3 August. The following violations were reportedly identified:
- Failure to document flow measurement five times per week
- Failure to employ a Class I wastewater treatment operator
- Three ponds have an excessive amount of duckweed which has the potential to reduce the efficiency of the natural life cycles of the ponds
DEQ informed Tollette of the results of the inspection and requested that a written response be submitted within 30 calendar days of receipt of the letter.
The CAO requires that no later than the effective date of the CAO Tollette submit to DEQ a written response to the alleged violations documented in the referenced inspections. In addition, no later than the CAO’s effective date, Tollette is required to comply with the CAP of May 27 and the final compliance date of August 31, 2023. A CAP, a schedule of steps and the final compliance date of August 21, 2023 must be fully enforceable as CAO conditions. Quarterly reports must also be submitted.
Tollette is required to report all SSOs to DEQ in accordance with the relevant sections of the NPDES permit and demonstrate within 90 calendar days of the document’s effective date that she has employed a Class I wastewater operator.
The CAO requires that within 12 months of the effective date of the CAO, Tollette be required to develop and submit to the DEQ for review and approval a Sewer System Assessment Study (â€œSSESâ€) for its sanitary sewer collection system that is professionally certified in Arkansas. Engineer. The minimum elements of the SSES are specified in the SSO. The SSO plan must include a timeline of steps and will be fully enforceable as conditions of the CAO.
A civil penalty of $ 1,400 is imposed and could have been reduced to $ 700 if the document had been returned to DEQ within 20 calendar days of receipt.
A copy of the CAD can be downloaded here.