Division of Water
STATE CITES TOWN BRANCH WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT FOR SEWAGE RELEASE
FRANKFORT (Sept. 7, 2007) – The Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet has issued a notice of violation to the Town Branch Wastewater Treatment Plant for an Aug. 31 spill of 3,135,000 gallons of partially treated sewage into Town Branch.
The spill was caused by a power outage at the plant, which is owned and operated by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government.
The Sept. 5 notice of violation cited the treatment plant for polluting waters of the commonwealth, failure to notify environmental officials of a spill and improper operation and maintenance. The notice specifies remedial measures and specific deadlines the plant must meet.
The bypass of secondary treatment and subsequent sewage spill, which resulted in a fish kill, was not properly reported by plant officials to the Division of Water or to the 24-hour environmental response line. State law requires immediate notification to the response line or the Division of Water upon any release or threatened release of a pollutant that poses imminent or substantial danger to the public health or welfare.
The power outage occurred between 7:30 p.m. and midnight Friday, but state environmental officials were not notified until 9 a.m. Saturday.
In addition to improper notification procedures, the plant was cited for failure to operate and maintain backup or auxiliary facilities for secondary treatment of wastewater during bypasses and other emergencies. The plant was given 30 days to submit a corrective backup treatment plan.
The Town Branch Wastewater Treatment Plant has seven days from receipt of the notice of violation to provide EPPC with a full report on the spill. The plant must also reimburse the state for all response costs. Additional remedial measures may be required by the cabinet’s Division of Enforcement, to which the case has been referred.