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DEP Attains Settlement Over Sewage Discharge Violations Affecting Passaic River

City of Summit to Upgrade Pump Station and Protect Water Resources

(02/79) TRENTON - The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that the city of Summit, Union County, must make mandatory improvements to its sanitary collection system to prevent future illegal sewage discharges into the Passaic River, which has been a recurring problem at its Chatham Road Pump Station for several years.

As part of the settlement agreement, Summit must provide DEP quarterly progress reports on the city's sanitary upgrade plan and permanently seal the sanitary collection system's overflow pipe by 2006 - eliminating the potential for future illegal discharges into the Passaic River.

"This agreement between the department and the city of Summit will help safeguard the health of our communities and contribute to New Jersey's clean water goals," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "Summit's upgrade plan at the facility will eventually eliminate its discharges into the Passaic River and will help provide for the long-term quality of the natural resource."

The city of Summit owns and operates a sanitary sewage collection system that consists of sanitary collection lines and four sanitary sewage pump stations, including the Chatham Road Pump Station. The system is operated by the city of Summit under contract with a private consultant.

On nine separate incidences, the overflow pipe from the Chatham Road Pump Station's underground holding tank discharged raw sewage into the Passaic River. The holding tank releases sewage into the Passaic River via an overflow pipe when the capacity of the 300,000-gallon holding tank is exceeded. Overflows from the pump station usually occur as a result of increased stormwater flow caused by heavy precipitation. The holding tank was initially put into place by the city to address increased stormwater overflows several years ago; however, it is no longer an adequate remedy to address overflow incidences and, as a result, more frequent illegal discharges are occurring.

The city of Summit was first issued a DEP Administrative Order and Notice of Civil Administrative Penalty Assessment on May 28, 1999 for four unpermitted sewage discharges. During settlement negotiations, an additional five sewage discharges occurred on the following dates: June 6, 1999 (approximately 30,000 gallons), December 17, 2000 (approximately 100,000 gallons), March 22, 2001 (approximately 313,000 gallons), June 17, 2001 (approximately 150,000 gallons) and March 20, 2002 (approximately 10,000 gallons).

Under the current Administrative Consent Order signed by the department on August 21, 2002, Summit was fined $36,250 for unpermitted sewage discharges into the Passaic River.

As part of the negotiations with the department, Summit also submitted an upgrade plan - which was received by the DEP on August 1, 2002. The plan calls for a study of possible diversion of sewerage outflows from the Chatham Road Pump Station, the replacement of the facility's shutoff valves, fittings, and piping, the installation of additional pumps and lines, and periodic, comprehensive inspections of all facility upgrades.

The city also agreed to undertake an inflow and infiltration reduction program to be completed by January 2003. Quarterly progress reports are to be submitted to the DEP until the necessary work is completed and the overflow discharge pipe is sealed.

The current settlement agreement does not exempt the city of Summit from additional fines that may result from future illegal sewage discharges.



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