SEATTLE, WA, Jan. 5, 2011 -- The City of Bonners Ferry, Idaho has agreed to pay a $12,300 penalty for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act at its wastewater treatment plant, according to an order from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
From June 2005 through May 2010, the plant had over 1,600 permit limit violations. The city's Clean Water Act violations included exceeding discharge limits for Escherichia coli (E. coli), biochemical oxygen demand, total suspended solids, pH and total residual chlorine.
"The City of Bonners Ferry provides a valuable community service by treating wastewater, but it must strictly follow its permit limits," said James Werntz, director of EPA's Idaho Operations Office. "The permit limits are in place to protect Idaho's streams and rivers."
The treatment plant, which serves nearly 2,600 people, is part of a sanitary sewer system that receives domestic wastewater from residential and commercial sources. The treated wastewater from the plant is discharged into the Kootenai River. To address the effluent permit violations, the city has reduced inflow and infiltration into their collection system and is removing the sludge buildup in the sewage lagoons.
The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit program controls water pollution by regulating point sources such as pipes or man-made ditches that discharge pollutants to surface waters. Industrial, municipal, and other facilities must obtain permits if their discharges go directly to surface waters.