Contact Us


All News Releases By Date


Keene Ordered to Pay Penalty for Clean Water Violations at Its Wastewater Treatment Plant

Release Date: 06/23/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: Sheryl Rosner, EPA Office of Public Affairs, (617) 918-1865,

For Immediate Release: June 23, 2005; Release # sr050614

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today it has proposed a fine of up to $157,500 against the city of Keene, New Hampshire for violations of federal Clean Water laws at its wastewater treatment plant and sewer collection system. These violations resulted in sewage overflowing from the system on dozens of occasions.

The penalty follows an administrative order issued in September by EPA’s New England office that ordered the city to set a schedule for coming into compliance with the Clean Water Act. Since the issuance of the order, the city has been working toward achieving compliance.

In the complaint filed last week, EPA said Keene exceeded effluent limits for zinc in the city’s National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit; failed to develop appropriate local limits for industries that discharge wastewater to the system; and failed to properly operate and maintain its collection system. EPA claims that Keene’s violations led to more than 30 overflows of untreated sanitary sewage, some of which reached local waterways.

Keene’s public sewer system includes a secondary wastewater treatment facility that discharges 3.5 million gallons per day of treated wastewater into the Ashuelot River. The collection system is made up of about 86 miles of sewer, 2000 manholes, five city-owned pump stations and 10 privately-owned pump stations.

On September 27, 2004, EPA issued an enforcement order against the City of Keene, in part, to correct the violations that are the basis for this penalty complaint. The order required the city to establish a schedule for actions to better operate and maintain the system; eliminate sewer system overflows; and establish technically-based limits for certain industries discharging wastewater to the system.

Specifically, the city was required to develop and implement a plan to remove structural deficiencies; evaluate manholes and collection system accessibility; to put in place a plan to restore the capacity of its sewer system, including a preventative maintenance program; to prepare a report analyzing the appropriate effluent limits for local industries that discharge to the system, and to put appropriate local limits for industries into its sewer use ordinance.

Learn more about EPA’s NPDES permit program (

Related Information:
Water Topics