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City of Dover, New Hampshire Agrees to Pay $36,000 Penalty and Spend Over $24,000 On Oyster Bed Restoration Project to Settle EPA Clean Water Case

Release Date: 01/26/2005
Contact Information:

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

For Immediate Release: January 26, 2005; Release # sr050105

BOSTON - The City of Dover, New Hampshire agreed to pay a $36,000 penalty and spend an additional $24,504 to perform an environmental project aimed at restoring New Hampshire’s ailing oyster populations, in order to settle EPA claims that it violated the federal Clean Water Act between 1999 and 2003.

Between September 2000 and June 2003, Dover illegally discharged untreated wastewater from point sources that were not authorized under its permits at least ten times, resulting in raw sewage discharges to the Cocheco and Bellamy rivers, Varney and Kelly brooks, and an unnamed tributary to the Bellamy River. EPA also cited Dover for failing to maintain and operate its wastewater system facilities properly, resulting in sewer line blockages, equipment malfunctions and pump station failures.

The City of Dover’s 4.7 million gallon-per-day wastewater treatment facility treats wastewater from domestic, industrial and commercial sources and then discharges the treated wastewater to the Piscataqua River. By examining the City’s discharge monitoring reports, EPA discovered that Dover was periodically discharging wastewater that contained more total and fecal coliform bacteria than allowed under its Clean Water Act permits, and also on one occasion, the facility’s discharge violated its acute whole effluent toxicity limit.

As a result of the violations, EPA’s regional office issued an Administrative Order to the City last March, setting a schedule for Dover to come into full compliance with the Clean Water Act. The City had already taken steps toward coming into compliance. To date, the City has complied with many of the provisions of the federal order.

“Cities and towns need to meet their environmental responsibilities to ensure that our water resources are protected," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England Office. “This action resolves the City of Dover’s serious problems with its wastewater treatment systems and will help prevent unnecessary contaminants from entering New Hampshire’s sensitive waterways.”

Under the terms of the settlement, Dover agreed to pay a cash penalty of $36,000 and will spend $24,504 to perform an environmentally beneficial project, commonly known as a “supplemental environmental project.” The project aims to assist the State of New Hampshire in reaching its goal of restoring 20 acres of shellfish beds by 2010.

In conjunction with faculty at the University of New Hampshire, the oyster bed restoration project involves surveying a partially depleted oyster bed in the Bellamy River and then seeding the bed using native oyster larvae from a hatchery. The larvae initially will be set in tanks, moved to a nursery and then used to seed the bed . The project includes requirements to monitor the progress of the newly implanted oyster larvae.

The project also has an educational component, including at least two independent undergraduate studies at UNH on oyster bed restoration, guest lectures at Dover High School, and high school field work assisting the oyster bed restoration.

EPA’s New England office has taken recent enforcement actions against other municipalities for untreated wastewater discharges including actions against Greenwich, Branford and Waterbury, Connecticut, Seabrook, New Hampshire, and Winchendon, Massachusetts.

For more information on Clean Water Act permits in New Hampshire visit our website at:

Related Information:
Water Enforcement in New England
Clean Water Act