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Licking County will improve wastewater treatment plant to settle government lawsuit

Release Date: 7/22/2005
Contact Information:

CONTACT: U.S. EPA, Phillippa Cannon, (312) 353-6218
Ohio EPA, Jim Leach (614) 728-0041

For Immediate Release
No. 05-OPA123

CHICAGO (July 22, 2005) — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 , the Department of Justice and the state of Ohio have recently settled with Licking County, Ohio, for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act at its wastewater treatment plant in Buckeye Lake. The county, located in central Ohio near Columbus, has agreed to pay $75,000, split between the state and federal governments, and make improvements to the plant to prevent future violations.

"Licking County has agreed to a rigorous schedule of improvements to the Buckeye Lake wastewater treatment plant that will help prevent future pollution of the Licking River," said EPA Acting Regional Administrator Bharat Mathur.

"This settlement is an important step toward improving wastewater treatment operations at Buckeye Lake, which is especially critical since the area is experiencing such rapid growth," said Ohio EPA Director Joseph P. Koncelik.

A lawsuit filed at the same time as the settlement alleges that starting in 1992 the treatment plant had numerous violations including discharging excess amounts of pollutants to the South Fork of the Licking River, allowing pollutants to bypass and overflow the treatment system, failing to perform required tests to analyze pollutants, failing to properly manage and dispose of sludge from the treatment process, allowing sludge containing excess amounts of molybdenum to be applied on land, and failing to comply with an EPA administrative order.

The county has submitted a corrective action plan that includes schedules for capital improvements, maintenance and other steps needed to permanently eliminate bypasses and discharge violations. By Dec. 1, 2007, the county shall complete all the steps set out in the plan and provide capacity for full treatment of all wastewater entering the plant.
The consent decree is available on the Department of Justice Web site Exit EPA disclaimer

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