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City Cited for Allowing Alleged Discharge that Killed Fish

City Cited for Allowing Alleged Discharge that Killed Fish

Posted - Nov. 3, 2003 at 7:59 a.m.



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SPRINGVILLE, Utah (AP) -- The state has cited Springville for allegedly allowing E-Excel International to discharge a cleaning solution that is blamed for damaging the sewage treatment plant and killing thousands of fish.

The state Division of Water Quality issued a two-part notice of violation against the city for allegedly allowing the plant to exceed prescribed dumping limits and failing to ensure E-Excel acquired a permit to dump the solution.

For at least a day and a half last month, the water being flushed from the treatment plant was out of compliance, City Manager Layne Long said.

State officials told Springville leaders to force the company to pay fines and a bill for damages to the sewer treatment plant.

City Attorney Troy Fitzgerald said the city is still investigating and final figures are unavailable.

The flushing of the solution into the sewer system was not an accident, according to a police investigation. An E-Excel spokesman said the people responsible were terminated.

Springville did not follow its required pretreatment program when it approved an addition to the E-Excel plant about two years ago that included two rooms where unwanted product could flow into the sewer, Harry Campbell, an investigator with the water-quality division, said.

In addition, the city failed to require a pretreatment permit, which in turn mandates that the city annually monitor what the company dumps.

Fitzgerald questions whether the permit was required.

Because city leaders failed to require the permit, "the city wasn't aware of what E-Excel was doing," Campbell said.

Additionally, public works officials reviewed E-Excel plans but apparently overlooked the intent to dump material into the sewer that failed to meet company standards, Campbell said.

The rooms were designed to transfer unwanted material from 50-gallon drums to 5-gallon drums for transfer to a disposal site. Any material that spills during the switch would go into the sewer.

"I know if (sewer treatment plant chief) Rick Roberts had gone there he would have stopped what was going on," Campbell said.

After the cleaning solution was dumped, it went into the sewer treatment plant. The quantity of the dump allegedly caused a malfunction at the treatment plant and the solution made its way into ponds filled with thousands of carp.

The solution also seeped into Spring Creek, killing blue gill and small mouthed bass as it flowed toward the wetlands next to Utah Lake, officials said.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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