Salisbury Wastewater Treatment Plant Faces Penalty for Illegal Sewage Sludge Storage that Threatened the Wicomico River

Press Release

 

Maryland Department of the Environment

Media Contacts

Julie Oberg
(410) 537-3003

Salisbury Wastewater Treatment Plant Faces Penalty for Illegal Sewage Sludge Storage that Threatened the Wicomico River

BALTIMORE, MD (May 19, 2006) -Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) announced today that four Maryland hospitals are being recognized for their environmental accomplishments by Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E).
The complaint alleges that the City of Salisbury violated provisions of Maryland’s water pollution control laws and failed to comply with the requirements of its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit and its State wastewater discharge permit from September 2005 through January 2006. The violations, based on MDE’s investigation, include: improper storage of dewatered sludge and improper storage of liquid sludge in a biosolids lagoon at the Salisbury Wastewater Treatment Plant, which resulted in the placement of pollutants in a position likely to discharge to the Wicomico River, a Use I water protected for water contact recreation and aquatic life.

“After receiving repeated MDE site inspection reports, the City of Salisbury, as owners/operators of the wastewater plant, did remove improperly stored dewatered sludge and lowered the liquid level in the biosolids lagoon, but additional corrective actions are needed to address the violations,” said MDE Secretary Kendl P. Philbrick. “These are serious violations of Maryland’s water pollution control laws and we must act now to protect Wicomico River, which leads to the Chesapeake Bay.”

In addition to a $25,000 administrative penalty, the order requires that:>

  • The City may not add any additional sludge or wastewater to the lagoon and must maintain the freeboard in the lagoon at no less than 12 inches at all times.
  • The City of Salisbury remove biosolids lagoon number two by Nov., 15, 2006, in compliance with all necessary permits or authorizations for removal and proper disposal of materials from the lagoon. This may be extended to June 1, 2009, if groundwater monitoring wells are installed around the perimeter of biosolids lagoon number 2 by June 1, 2006 and groundwater test results submitted to by July 15, 2006, demonstrate that there is no leakage from the lagoon.

The City of Salisbury may request a hearing on the complaint and order within 10 days of receipt of the complaint and a hearing on the penalty may be requested within 30 days of receipt of the document.



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