Sunday, November 7, 2010

Denial of Permit Waiver Application For City WWTP

EPA is proposing a draft decision to deny the extension of a waiver of Clean Water Act requirements that has allowed the City of Gloucester to discharge wastewater receiving only primary treatment from its wastewater treatment facility into Massachusetts Bay. The reason for the waiver denial is a failure to meet the current permit limits, including whole effluent toxicity (WET), oil and grease, and fecal coliform bacteria. EPA is releasing for public review and comment the draft intention to deny this waiver request and issue a permit with secondary treatment-based limits, and will accept comments on Dec. 4, 2010.

Gloucester has applied to EPA for reissuance of a waiver of Clean Water Act secondary treatment requirements, which would authorize continued discharge or primary effluent from the Gloucester Water Pollution Control Facility to Massachusetts Bay. Gloucester is the only major discharger in Massachusetts that currently holds such a waiver. The Gloucester discharge is to Massachusetts Bay, within the North Shore Ocean Sanctuary, as established by the Massachusetts Ocean Sanctuaries Act. The Commonwealth has designated the water as “Class SA,” the highest of the three marine water quality classifications.

The current permit has been in effect since 2001. The upgrade from primary to secondary treatment at the Gloucester Water Pollution Control Facility will require extensive planning and design, and will also require the commitment of significant financial resources. EPA and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) are moving forward with the new draft permit recognizing that it will need to establish a reasonable compliance schedule for the treatment plant upgrade.

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