Government settles with Dalton Utilities for water violations

Dalton Utilities has agreed to pay a $6 million penalty to resolve violations of the Clean Water Act under a civil settlement announced on Jan. 18 between the company, EPA and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD).

Jan. 25, 2001—Dalton Utilities has agreed to pay a $6 million penalty to resolve violations of the Clean Water Act under a civil settlement announced on Jan. 18 between the company, EPA and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD).

The settlement resolves allegations contained in a complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of EPA and the Georgia EPD in 1998. The complaint alleged that major deficiencies were found in the company's wastewater programs (i.e., wastewater treatment facilities, laboratory, sludge handling and disposal, land application system, pretreatment program and sanitary sewer collection system).

Specifically, the Land Application System was vulnerable to problems that cause wastewater to run off the site into surface waters. The violations resulted in the addition of pollutants to groundwater and to the Conasauga River and its tributaries.

The company owns and operates three biological wastewater treatment facilities which have a combined design treatment capacity of 40 million gallons per day and treat more than 29 million gallons of wastewater on an average daily basis.

The company has agreed to implement significant improvements to its Land Application System to ensure that its wastewater programs are in compliance with the Clean Water Act.

The improvements include implementation of its Pretreatment Program; implementation of operation and maintenance standards and procedures for its sewer collection system to prevent discharges of pollutants to waters of the State; implementation of the Land Application System Water Quality Characterization Plan; and the discontinuance of the land application of sewage sludge in certain areas.

The state of Alabama, the Coosa River Basin Initiative, and the Weiss Lake Improvement Association are also plaintiffs in the case. For more information visit: http://www.epa.gov/region4/oeapages/01press/011801.htm.

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