The Arkansas Department of Energy & Environment – Division of Environmental Quality (“DEQ”) and Booneville, Arkansas (“Booneville”) have entered into a March 8th Consent Administrative Order (“CAO”) addressing alleged violations of a Clean Water Act National Pollution Discharge Elimination System («NPDES») permit. See LIS No. 22-020.
According to the CAO, Booneville owns a municipal wastewater treatment plant (“Facility”) located in Logan County, Arkansas.
The Facility is said to discharge treated wastewater into an unnamed tributary to Booneville Creek, which eventually flows into the Arkansas River. This discharge is subject to an NPDES permit.
DEQ is reported to have reviewed the Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs) on May 25, 2017. This was reported by Booneville in the period from May 1, 2013, to March 31, 2017. Booneville claims to have reported 172 SSOs, totaling approximately 969,000.gallons, during the review period. Each SSO is considered an unpermitted discharge.
Booneville was allegedly sent a letter by DEQ requesting a Corrective Activity Plan (“CAP”) to be submitted to DEQ in order to address the SSOs. The letter was sent May 26, 2017. The CAP would have a milestone calendar, final date for compliance, and be certified as such by an Arkansas Professional Engineer.
Booneville sent a CA to DEQ June 21, 2017, with a final compliance deadline of March 15, 2020. Booneville submitted quarterly progress reports that detailed the work done to correct the SSO violations, from December 1, 2017, to August 31, 2021. The work includes:
• Smoke testing
• Closed circuit television analysis
• Manhole repair and replacement
• Pipe bursting
• Other actions
DEQ performed a follow up review of Booneville’s SSOs from April 1, 2017, to June 30, 20,21 on July 1, 2020. According to the review, Booneville reported 339 SSOs that totaled approximately 3.25 millions gallons in the review period. Each SSO is considered to have been an unpermitted discharge.
Booneville received a request from DEQ for an updated CA, including a revised milestone calendar and final compliance date. DEQ requested a detailed map of the collection system and a summary of all corrective actions taken thus far. It also wanted to know the root cause of SSOs and an analysis of the seven areas in which recurring SSOs were identified. Booneville provided DEQ with a map of their collection system on July 26, 2021. Booneville also provided DEQ a revised CAP, updated milestone schedule, and a revised compliance date of Jan 31, 2028. According to DEQ, Booneville was notified by the agency that the revised milestone schedule didn’t provide enough detail.
The CAO requires Booneville submit to DEQ a Sewer System Evaluation Study (“SSES”) within 12 months from its effective date. Arkansas Professional Engineers must approve the SSES. Additionally, the CAO lists a number elements that must be part of the SSES.
Booneville must submit a Sanitary Septic Rehabilitation Plan (“SSRP”) to DEQ within three months after submitting the SSES. The SSRP must address both the deficiencies identified in the SSES as well as:
- Define the steps that must be taken to stop peak flows from inflow or infiltration
- You must take the steps required to repair or replace equipment.
The SSRP must include a number elements. The final compliance date, milestone schedule, SSRP and SSRP will be approved by DEQ. You must submit quarterly progress reports.
There is a civil penalty of $4,200 that can be assessed. However, this could have been reduced to one-half if the document was returned within 20 days of its receipt to DEQ.
You can download a copy of the CAO here.