Parker-Hannifin’s Oxnard, California industrial facility does not discharge into waters of the United States, yet EPA sued it for illegal discharges, which went into the sewer system of the City of Oxnard. According to an EPA news release announcing a settlement, Parker-Hannifin has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $390,000 and install equipment estimated to cost approximately $510,000.
Industrial Discharges into POTWs Are Subject to Federal Regulations
In addition to regulating direct discharges into waters of the United States, the Clean Water Act requires EPA to promulgate pretreatment standards for industrial facilities that discharge into a Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW). Oxnard’s sewer system is part of a POTW. An industrial facility that discharges into a POTW in violation of the pretreatment standards is subject to federal enforcement.
Ongoing Violations of Pretreatment Standards
Parker-Hannifin had failed to comply with an Administrative Order issued by EPA in 2017, which required installation of treatment technology necessary to comply with the pretreatment standards. Due to ongoing violations of the standards, EPA sued Parker-Hannifin. In the news release, EPA announced the filing in the federal court of a proposed Consent Decree, which allows the court to enforce the settlement terms. In addition to the penalty and the requirement to install treatment technology, the Consent Decree contains stipulated penalties that will be assessed should Parker-Hannifin fail to meet the Consent Decree’s requirements.
The Consent Decree is subject to a thirty-day comment period and must be approved by the federal judge, after consideration of any comments.
Industrial dischargers into POTWs should remember that failure to comply with pretreatment standards can subject them to enforcement from the POTW owner, the state, and the federal government.
To see the news release, which includes a link to the proposed Consent Decree https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/oxnard-calif-company-pay-390000-fine-illegally-discharging-wastewater
This will be the final alert of 2020. Best wishes to all for a happy 2021!