NEW YORK, NY, Oct. 24, 2013 -- The city of Middletown, N.Y., was ordered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to comply with federal Clean Water Act (CWA) requirements for reducing pollutants in the wastewater that flows from area industrial facilities to its wastewater treatment plant.
Under the CWA, wastewater treatment plants of a certain size that receive wastewater from industrial facilities are required to develop pretreatment programs that reduce pollutants from industrial wastewater at their source. The city of Middletown meets these criteria, but has failed to establish a pretreatment program for the Middletown Sewage Treatment Plant.
"Wastewater treatment plants are often the last line of defense against the flow of harmful pollutants into our treasured rivers and streams," said Judith A. Enck, EPA regional administrator. "When local governments fail to create pretreatment programs, water quality can be degraded and people's health put at risk."
The CWA's Industrial Pretreatment Program establishes standards that are designed to control pollutants from industrial facilities before they reach a city's sewage treatment plant. Without proper pretreatment, these pollutants have the potential to pass through a city's plant and into receiving rivers and streams without adequate treatment, posing serious threats to health, marine life, recreation, and the consumption of fish and shellfish. The pollutants may also interfere with the effectiveness of the wastewater treatment process and contaminate a plant's sewage sludge. The EPA and the states enforce pretreatment regulations to ensure that industrial wastewater is properly treated before being discharged into local waterways.
Earlier this year, the EPA requested that Middletown provide the agency with the details of its pretreatment program. The city's response showed that no pretreatment program meeting the federal requirements was in place.
Under the order announced today, Middletown must begin submitting details of a proposed pretreatment program to the EPA by December 1, 2013, and meet further deadlines set forth in the order including the submission of a final plan by June 16, 2014. Failure to meet the requirements of the EPA order could result in penalties.