Connecticut City Pays Fines for Wastewater Violations at City's Facilities

The city of New Britain, Conn. will pay $50,000 to resolve violations of the Clean Water Act concerning improper discharges of vehicle maintenance wastewaters at the city's Department of Public Works and other facilities where municipal vehicles were washed and maintained, EPA announced on Feb. 24.

The violations involve New Britain's failure to obtain required permits for wastewater discharges from its vehicle washing operations at several city facilities to its stormwater collection system, which discharges into Willow Brook and ultimately to the Mattabasset River. The city also failed to obtain the required Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) permits for discharges from its vehicle maintenance areas to the municipal wastewater collection system. These actions resulted in the discharge of oil and grease, surfactants, solids and other pollutants.

In 2002, the city participated in an EPA self-auditing initiative. During that audit, New Britain reported a number of violations of clean water laws by various city entities including the Department of Public Works, the Water Department, the Fire Department and the Department of Parks and Recreation to EPA. The violations occurred when the city discharged vehicle maintenance wastewater and vehicle wash waters to sanitary sewers and storm sewers without the required treatment facilities and without the necessary National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and DEP permits.

To address the violations, the city reconfigured its drainage and sanitary sewer systems at the various facilities to ensure that vehicle maintenance discharges are properly channeled. New Britain also constructed a vehicle wash bay at its Department of Public Work's facilities to wash its vehicles. Upon completion of the remaining reconfiguration of the drainage and sanitary sewer systems at two of the city's Parks and Recreation facilities, the city will apply to the DEP for the necessary vehicle maintenance and storm water general permits.

More information on this action and other related issues can be found at http://www.epa.gov/region1/enforcement/water/public-notices.html.

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