Electric Company Settles NPDES Violations

The Taunton Municipal Lighting Plant will pay a $15,000 fine and undertake an extensive supplemental environmental project to settle Clean Water Act violations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Jan. 25.

An agency inspection of the facility in March 2006 found that the plant violated several provisions of its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit as well as its Multi-Sector General Permit for Industrial Activities.

EPA's complaint alleges that utility staff failed to properly conduct monthly monitoring between June 2004 and February 2006 for oil and grease and failed to operate and maintain adequate laboratory controls and appropriate quality assurance procedures. Staff also failed to maintain the pH in wastewater discharges to the Taunton River within acceptable limits.

A municipal electric utility that produces and distributes electricity to approximately 33,000 customers, the facility includes the main power generation building, oil storage tanks, a switchyard, a cooling tower, a chemical storage building, a water intake house, fuel oil receiving houses, and a guardhouse. The area surrounding the facility is rural, consisting of wetlands, wooded areas and the Taunton River.

Finally, the agency's inspection revealed violations of the company's stormwater permit. The utility failed to conduct quarterly monitoring for Total Recoverable Iron in violation of its multi-sector permit. 

The utility will perform a supplemental project that involves providing $50,000 to the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth to create and implement portions of a Lake Management Plan for Lake Sabbatia, in Taunton, Mass. Lake Sabbatia is the largest lake in Taunton and is located within the boundary of a state designated area of critical environmental concern.

A goal of the project is to support water quality restoration of the Lake Sabbatia system so that the full system meets its designated water quality standards and, once met, that the water quality remains at its designated levels.

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