Enforcement

Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority (JCMUA) Settlement

WASHINGTON – A settlement between the United States and the Jersey City, N.J. Municipal Utilities Authority (JCMUA) will resolve Clean Water Act violations by JCMUA for failing to properly operate and maintain its combined sewer system, the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today. JCMUA will invest more than $52 million in repairs and upgrades to its existing infrastructure and pay a civil penalty of $375,000.

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Overview of Sewer Authority and Facility Location

JCMUA owns and operates a combined sewer collection system in Jersey City, New Jersey. JCMUA’s system includes gravity sewers, catch basins, combined sewer outfalls, floatable control facilities and interceptor sewers. The outfalls discharge to Penhorn Creek, the Hackensack River, Newark Bay, and the Lower Hudson River.

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Violations

  • Combined sewer overflows (CSOs) resulting in the discharge of pollutants without a permit and, thus, violating Section 301 of the Clean Water Act (CWA), 33 U.S.C. § 1311.
  • Failure to comply with conditions of a permit issued pursuant to CWA Section 402, 33 U.S.C. § 1342.

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Injunctive Relief

The goal of the injunctive relief is to reduce the likelihood and severity of future unauthorized discharges from JCMUA’s sewer system that could pose a threat to public health and the environment. The settlement requires JCMUA to repair, upgrade and expand its infrastructure and implement an effective monitoring and reporting mechanism to ensure proper operation and maintenance of the sewer system.

Pollutants Reductions

  • Total Suspended Solids - 136,985 lbs/year
  • Biological Oxygen Demand - 182,646 lbs/year

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Health and Environmental Effects

  • 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. 
  • 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

JCMUA will pay a civil penalty of $375,000.

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Supplement Environmental Project (SEP)

As part of the settlement, JCMUA will implement a supplemental environmental project, whereby it will remove common sewers from several homes in Jersey City and replace them with direct connections to the sewer system.

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Contact

For more information, contact:

James Zimny 
Water Enforcement Division
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460
(202) 564-6551
James Zimney (zimny.james@epa.gov)

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