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EPA Orders City of Brockton to Improve Wastewater Treatment Plant

Release Date: 06/04/2003
Contact Information: Andrew Spejewski, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1014

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has ordered the City of Brockton to carry out a number of projects to improve its wastewater treatment system. The city's treatment plant, which discharges to the Salisbury Plain River, has consistently failed to meet pollution discharge limits in its federal permit over the last decade.

Inspections by EPA and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the plant's own reports document equipment failures, operator errors, chemical feed problems and chronic bypassing of treatment equipment at the plant. This has led to excessive discharges of sewage solids, bacteria, ammonia and chlorine into the river, which flows to the Matfield River which downstream becomes the Taunton River.

The discharges had the potential to cause significant aquatic ecosystem system damage and public health problems in the river, especially during the dry season when water levels in the river are lower.

"This order lays out a clear and reasonable path for the city to improve the facility's performance so Brockton-area residents can get the environmental protection they deserve," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. "The city has already begun setting aside money for sewer and treatment upgrades and this order will help ensure that these improvements are realized."

Under the terms of the administrative order issued by EPA, the city must carry out a number of projects over the next four years to improve its wastewater treatment plant and sewage collection system. The projects range from replacement of aging equipment and odor control improvements to a significant upgrade of the treatment system to better remove ammonia from the plant's discharges. The order also requires the city to begin planning and design for longer-term projects necessary to upgrade its treatment plant and collection system. The dates for completion of these longer term projects will be the subject of further negotiations among EPA, DEP and the city followed by appropriate action by the agencies.