CT water treatment plants to make significant upgrades under EPA settlements

The cities of Groton and Norwich, Conn., will make significant upgrades to their drinking water treatment plants by eliminating chlorine gas at these facilities. These actions settle claims by the EPA that the cities violated federal clean air laws meant to prevent chemical accidents.

BOSTON, MA, April 24, 2015 -- The cities of Groton and Norwich, Conn., will make significant upgrades to their drinking water treatment plants by eliminating the use of chlorine gas at these facilities. These actions settle claims by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the cities violated federal clean air laws meant to prevent chemical accidents, based on 2012 inspections of the utilities.

At the Groton Water Treatment Facility, EPA documented violations of the risk management regulations related to the storage and handling of chlorine gas. These included the failure to:

  • Develop a management system
  • Develop an adequate off-site hazard consequence analysis
  • Adequately update its process hazards analysis between 1997 and 2012, as required
  • Address safety and health considerations in its operating procedures as well as to review and certify operating procedures annually
  • Maintain adequate personnel training documentation
  • Adequately implement a program to maintain the ongoing integrity of process equipment
  • Conduct and document compliance audits at least every three years
  • Implement an adequate emergency response plan

At Norwich's Dr. Charles W. Solomon Water Purification Plant, EPA identified a number of violations of the risk management requirements, including the failure to:

  • Develop a management system
  • Compile process safety information
  • Update the process hazard analysis for its chlorine process
  • Create or maintain complete written operating procedures
  • Conduct personnel refresher training
  • Develop and put in place a preventative maintenance program
  • Conduct compliance audits
  • Put in place a contractor program

Groton and Norwich will pay penalties of $7,000 and $8,330, respectively, and both cities will put in place projects to reduce public health risks in their communities by eliminating the use of chlorine gas at these facilities. The water treatment plants will use sodium hypochlorite, a safer chemical, for water disinfection.

The cost to make these facility upgrades will be at least $449,000 in Groton, and at least $150,000 in Norwich. Further, removing chlorine gas from these facilities will eliminate the chance of an accidental release from this source and improve the safety of residents, without compromising water treatment. Sodium hypochlorite is easier to handle and less hazardous than chlorine gas.

See also:

"EPA announces settlement with nation's largest egg producer for CWA violations"

"EPA releases new website to track compliance status of public water systems"

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