Enforcement

City of Revere, Massachusetts Clean Water Act Settlement

(Boston, Mass.- August 25, 2010) Under the terms of a Consent Decree lodged in federal court, the City of Revere, Mass. will significantly reduce illegal discharges of raw sewage overflows into the environment from its wastewater collection system and separate storm sewer system. The City has estimated that it will spend approximately $50 million to address these illegal discharges. Revere will also pay a civil penalty of $130,000 for past violations of the Clean Water Act.

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Overview of Company and Facility Location

Revere, Massachusetts, is a community of approximately 47,000 people that is responsible for wastewater collection and conveyance. Revere is also the owner and operator of a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) that is designed to keep sewage and other wastewater separate from stormwater. The City does not own or operate its own wastewater treatment facility, but instead sends its wastewater to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority for treatment.

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Violations

Revere's MS4 routinely discharges pollutants into waters of the United States from its storm drains without a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. In addition, since January 2000 the City has experienced in excess of 722 sewer blockages or capacity limitations resulting in basement backups in its wastewater collection system and, on approximately 53 additional occasions, the blockages or capacity limitations resulted in surcharges that discharged raw sewage to surface waters. All of Revere's SSOs to waters of the United States are unpermitted discharges, as are the City's MS4 discharges, and therefore are in violation of Section 301(a) of the CWA. EPA is authorized to seek penalties and injunctive relief pursuant to Section 309 of the CWA.

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Injunctive Relief

Pursuant to the terms of the Consent Decree, Revere will eliminate illicit connections and cross connections between the City's sanitary sewer system and its MS4. The City will also implement a Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan (CWMP), and implement a Comprehensive Stormwater Management Plan (CSMP). The Decree requires the City to address corrective actions required for the entire wastewater collection system and MS4, and to implement the requirements of the CWMP/CSMP. These compliance measures are expected to eliminate over 100 basement backups each year, and approximately 12 SSOs that reach surface waters each year. The cost of these measures is approximately $75 million. The Decree requires completion of the construction and full implementation of all remedial and control measures no later than December 31, 2022.

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Pollutant Reductions

Combined, the SSOs prevented and illicit connections to the MS4 system removed by this enforcement action will substantially reduce releases of microbial pathogens, suspended solids, toxics, and nutrients.

  • Total suspended solids (TSS) reduced by 2,036 pounds per year
  • Biological oxygen demand (BOD) reduced by 2,036 pounds per year
  • Total nitrogen reduced by 342 pounds per year
  • Total Phosphorous reduced by 80 pounds per year.
  • The combined estimated total pollutant reductions are approximately 1,824,000 gallons and 4,494 pounds of pollutants reduced on an annual basis.

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Health and Environmental Effects

The above mentioned reductions will substantially reduce releases of the following pollutants:

  • Microbial pathogens
  • Total Suspended Solids (TSS) - TSS indicates the measure of suspended solids in wastewater, effluent or water bodies. High levels of TSS in a water body can diminish the amount of light that penetrates the water column and reduce photosynthesis and the production of oxygen.
  • Toxics Nutrients
  • Biological oxygen demand (BOD) - BOD is an indirect measure of the biologically degradable material present in organic wastes. High BOD means there is an abundance of biologically degradable material that will consume oxygen from the water during the degradation process. It may take away oxygen that is needed for aquatic organisms to survive.

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Civil Penalty

Revere will pay a civil penalty totaling $130,000 with the United States receiving $97,500, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts receiving $37,500.

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State Partner

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a plaintiff-intervenor in this settlement.

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For more information, contact:

Amanda J. Helwig
U.S. EPA
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (2243A)
Washington, DC 20460
(202) 564-3713
Amanda Helwig (helwig.amanda@epa.gov)

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