Federal and state regulators have notified a privately-owned utility in South Carolina that it is spilling too much sewage into Lake Wylie, a major reservoir.
"The EPA issued a violation notice that listed at least 27 wastewater spills from the start of 2013 to Jan. 2, 2014, resulting in 446,350 gallons of untreated sewage being discharged into the lake. The notice says the company violated the federal Clean Water Act," The Herald recently reported.
State regulators had already raised concerns. "On Feb. 3, Tega Cay Water Service signed a consent order with the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, pledging to find a temporary solution to sewage spills within 30 days. The DHEC order also includes a $136,000 fine that cannot be passed on to the utility company’s 2,000 customers in Tega Cay," the Fort Mill Times reported.
The EPA has not levied a fine, according to the Charlotte Observer. However, "the notice requires Tega Cay to follow DHEC-ordered fixes issued earlier this year. The EPA will monitor progress and repairs over the next two years," WBTV reported.
Company officials indicated the spills may not stop immediately. They "say there’s still a risk of sewage overflows until the company makes necessary system repairs," The Herald reported in a separate piece. A company official told the Herald that the company is “continuing with the improvements we started several years ago.”
The officials said that the EPA’s notice “acknowledges and supports our consent order and reinforces the mutual efforts of DHEC and Tega Cay Water Service Inc. to stop the occurrence of overflows at Tega Cay."
"We will be adding further protection to the lake during the lengthy rehabilitation work on the collection system to reduce the incidence of overflows we have been experiencing,” the official said to the Herald.
Image credit: "Manhole," © 2013 faul, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en
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