Wastewater Enforcement: Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment – Department of Environmental Quality and City of Nashville enter into Consent Executive Order | Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, PLLC

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On October 16, the Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment, Department of Environmental Quality (“DEQ”) and the City of Nashville, Arkansas (“Nashville”) entered into a Consent Administrative Order (“CAO”) addressing alleged violations of the Clean Water Act. It was concluded. National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) Permit. See LIS No. 23-080.

Nashville is stated to operate a municipal wastewater treatment facility (the “Facility”) in Howard County, Arkansas.

The facility is said to discharge treated wastewater into Mine Creek, which ultimately flows to the Red River. Such discharges are regulated pursuant to NPDES permits.

DEQ said it conducted a routine compliance assessment inspection of the facility on Dec. 30, 2020. The inspection reportedly found the following violations:

  • Sludge accumulated in treatment pond 2

DEQ stated that it conducted a review of the certified discharge monitoring report (“DMR”) from the facility on January 31st. The review states that the following violations are listed:

a) 20 ammonia nitrogen violations.

b) Four total suspended solids violations.

c) Two violations of carbonaceous biochemical oxygen requirements.and

d) Two violations regarding total wastewater toxicity – P. promelas

DMR’s review also states that Nashville reported a NODI code P indicating a laboratory error or invalid test on spill 001-B on certain designated period end dates.

DEQ conducted an investigation into a sewer overflow (“SSO”) reported from Nashville on January 31st. It is stated that such investigation shows that 54 cases of his SSO were reported. It is stated that each SSO constitutes an unauthorized discharge.

On August 16, DEQ conducted a review of certified DMRs and identified the following violations:

I. If nitrate + nitrate occurs 3 times.and

ii. If total phosphorus occurs three times

On August 16, DEQ also conducted an SSO survey that showed Nashville reported 12 cases totaling 4,078,820 gallons. Nashville does not allow untreated wastewater to be discharged from collection systems.

The CAO provides that the City of Nashville, within 30 calendar days of the effective date, submits to DEQ for review and approval a Comprehensive Corrective Action Plan (“CAP”) prepared by an Arkansas licensed professional engineer. It is mandatory to do so. At a minimum, the CAP must include the methods and best available technology that will be used to remediate the alleged violation. It must also include a reasonable milestone schedule with the final compliance date being December 31, 2026. In addition, certain quarterly reporting requirements are mandated.

Within 12 months of the effective date of the CAO, the City of Nashville is also required to prepare and submit a sewer system evaluation study for its sewer collection system to DEQ for review and approval. This study must be certified by a professional engineer in the State of Arkansas.

A civil penalty of $8,600 will be imposed, of which $5,600 will be conditionally suspended if Nashville fully complies with the CAO.

A copy of the CAO is attached here.

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