News Releases from Region 01
Under Settlement Bangor, Maine Takes Additional Action to Address Wastewater and Stormwater Discharges
BOSTON - Under the terms of a Consent Decree lodged today in federal court to address noncompliance with the Clean Water Act, the City of Bangor, Maine, will take action to prevent sewer overflows and contaminated stormwater from entering the Penobscot River and Kenduskeag Stream.
The City complied fully with the terms of an earlier consent decree with EPA but had not fully achieved the goals set forth in the Clean Water Act or in a federal discharge permit issued by the State of Maine under a delegated program, resulting in continued sewer overflows and water quality violations.
Sewer overflow discharges contain oxygen depleting organic material as well as human waste by-products, such as fecal coliform, and pharmaceuticals, all of which can cause environmental harm and degradation to the receiving water body and the natural ecosystem.
The Consent Decree is the result of a federal enforcement action brought jointly by the U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the State of Maine.
"This settlement ensures that the parties will all continue to work cooperatively toward controlling the City's wastewater and stormwater discharges to Maine waterways," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "The City has made considerable strides with respect to controlling its pollution discharges in the past, and we anticipate it will persist in its efforts in the future so as to improve the quality of life for Maine citizens."
The Consent Decree imposes a schedule for the City to, among other things, institute operations and maintenance programs, conduct sewer system evaluations studies, construct capital improvement projects, and implement sewer system remedial measures and a more thorough program to eliminate stormwater contamination in the City's storm drains.
Preventing sewage and stormwater from contaminating surface waters of the United States is one of EPA's national priorities. If not properly controlled, municipal wastewater and stormwater can contaminate waterbodies and present a significant health concern for people using those waters for recreational use and downstream drinking water systems.
The Consent Decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court. Once it is published in the Federal Register, a copy of the consent decree will be available on the Justice Department Web site at www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees