Environmental Protection

Williamsport Sanitary Authority to Increase Capacity for CSO Compliance

The Williamsport, Pa., Sanitary Authority (WSA) has agreed to improve its combined sewer system at an estimated cost of $10 million in order to resolve long-standing problems with combined sewer overflows (CSOs) to the Susquehanna River, the Justice Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced last week.

Under the settlement agreement, filed on June 22 in federal court in Williamsport, WSA will expand the treatment capacity of its Central Wastewater Treatment Plant and increase its storage capacity to cope with high flow during wet weather to guard against CSOs to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, and ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay. WSA has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $320,000 for past violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA). The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is joining in the settlement as a co-plaintiff.

The agreement resolves allegations in a complaint that WSA violated CWA and Pennsylvania’s Clean Streams Law by failing to implement long-term control plans and other wastewater controls required by its state-issued National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits.

EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin said: "When fully implemented, today's agreement will reduce the amount of untreated sewage being discharged into the Susquehanna River by more than 52 million gallons per year."

WSA provides sewage collection and treatment to nearly 60,000 people within Williamsport and several surrounding communities, using a system that includes combined sewers carrying both sewage and stormwater runoff.

According to the settlement, the United States and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection will each receive one-half of the $320,000 civil penalty.

The settlement agreement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court.

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