CENTREVILLE (May 3, 2004) – The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and the town of Centreville have agreed to a moratorium on issuance of new building permits until a new wastewater treatment system is operational and the town has developed a plan to manage demand on the new plant.
Under the terms of the moratorium, the town also agreed not to approve new subdivision plats or allow new connections to its sewer system beyond those properties for which building permits have been issued. The town council agreed to the consent order this afternoon.
MDE imposed the moratorium after an investigation of town records showed Centreville had continued to issue building permits and approve plats despite the fact that the existing plant is inadequate to handle the increased demand.
“This moratorium will allow town leaders to get a handle on present and future demand on the new wastewater treatment plant and plan for future growth in a way that does not harm the environment or public health,” said Kendl P. Philbrick, the Maryland Secretary of the Environment.
The moratorium will remain in effect until Centreville demonstrates to MDE that the new system is capable of treating 500,000 gallons a day while meeting Maryland’s clean water standards. The new plant will combine biological nutrient reduction technology with spray irrigation of effluent on farmland.
The town also must prepare a detailed capacity management plan to ensure that future growth will not exceed the design capacity of the new plant.
The town council agreed to a second consent order that requires the town to comply with permit standards during construction of the new plant but sets interim performance in recognition of the fact that plants occasionally exceed permit limits during construction and initial operation. The second consent order includes stipulated penalties for construction-related violations of the interim standards and for violation of permit limits at all other times. By November 30, 2004, the plant and spray irrigation system must be completed and operational under the terms of the consent order.
The consent orders take effect when signed by MDE.
For more than two months, the Environmental Crimes Unit of the Attorney General’s Office has been investigating allegations of an illegal bypass and non-reporting of significant sewage spills at the plant lodged by a former town employee.