City of Jerome, Idaho, settles wastewater permit violations with EPA

In a recent settlement between the City of Jerome, Idaho, and the Environmental Protection Agency, the city has agreed to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant to ensure that the facility has the capacity to handle future discharges.

SEATTLE, WA, Aug. 27, 2015 -- In a recent settlement between the City of Jerome, Idaho, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the city has agreed to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant to ensure that the facility has the capacity to handle future discharges. As a result, wastewater discharged into the Snake River, the J8 canal and other waters will be potentially cleaner going forward.

The Clean Water Act requires that wastewater discharges comply with permitted limits for a variety of pollutants. Between April 2010 and July 2011, numerous discharges from the treatment plant exceeded permit limitations for biological oxygen demand, chlorine, total suspended solids, fecal coliforms, E.coli, pH, phosphorus, and dissolved oxygen.

"Wastewater treatment plants can contribute large amounts of pollution to our waterways, so it's critically important that the discharges are properly controlled and treated," said Ed Kowalski, director of EPA's Office of Compliance and Enforcement in Seattle. "This action will move us closer to our goal of removing the Snake River from the list of impaired waterbodies and ensuring clean water for drinking, fishing, swimming, and other activities for everyone in Idaho."

The July 30, 2015, Consent Decree between Jerome and EPA sets forth actions that the city will take to settle numerous violations of its National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. To bring the wastewater discharges into compliance, the city has constructed an emergency storage pond that can hold 21 million gallons of wastewater.

It will also make approximately $43 million in improvements to the wastewater treatment facility over the next six years. These upgrades will include adding two basins and increasing blower capacity in the membrane treatment area; adding a new sludge dewatering building; adding an aeration basin, pump station, blower building, and new yard piping; and increasing biotower ventilation.

In addition, the City of Jerome will pay an $86,000 civil penalty to settle claims it was discharging wastewater in violation of its permits.

See also:

"Hecla Mining Company settles CWA violations near major Idaho river"

"USGS analyzes Idaho groundwater data to optimize future aquifer monitoring"

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