PATERSON TO UPGRADE SEWER
TO PROTECT WATER RESOURCES
(02/48) Trenton---The New Jersey Department
of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the city of Paterson
have reached a settlement requiring the city to install
pollution controls on its sewer system to prevent sewage
waste from washing into the Passaic River.
Paterson will pay a penalty of $7,500 and
an economic benefit assessment of $371,669 to settle its
sewage discharge permit violations. The economic benefit
assessment represents the financial advantage Paterson realized
by not investing in the equipment required for compliance
with clean water regulations.
"I am pleased that the city of Paterson
ultimately decided to cooperate with the department,"
said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "This
settlement goes a long way toward improving water quality
in the Passaic River while safeguarding the public."
Paterson owns and operates a combined sewer
system, which carries both stormwater and sewage. During
periods of heavy rainfall, solid and floatable waste are
transported directly to the Passaic River - bypassing the
wastewater treatment plant - because the combined sewer
system does not have the capacity to carry both sewage and
stormwater runoff. Under dry weather conditions, all flow
within Paterson's sewer system goes to the Passaic Valley
Sewerage Commission's wastewater treatment facility in Newark.
Operators of combined sewer systems are
mandated by the federal Clean Water Act to implement pollution
controls for solids and floatables to prevent discharge
to surface water. Under a court-approved settlement in accordance
with an enforcement compliance schedule, Paterson is required
to install pollution control devices, which will capture
any solids and floatables before they reach the river. The
city will also submit quarterly progress reports to the
department beginning July 31, 2002.
The cost to upgrade Paterson's combined
sewer system, which contains 32 combined sewer overflow
points, is estimated at $24.5 million.
In 1999, DEP issued a penalty assessment
of $15,000 to Paterson for failure to submit timely Treatment
Works Approval (TWA) applications for the control devices
as required in its New Jersey Pollutant Discharge Elimination
System (NJPDES) permit. Paterson's continued failure to
submit the TWA's resulted in the department filing a complaint
against the city in May 2000 in the Superior Court of New
Jersey, citing these continuing violations of the NJPDES
permit requirements and the New Jersey Water Pollution Control
The agreement announced today, which is
outlined in a Judicial Consent Order, settles the complaint
and Paterson's outstanding penalty liability for the violations.