Letter to Winchester mayor regarding sewage issues from ADEQ

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WINCHESTER, Ark. – State Representative for District 9 LeAnne Burch who had been at the city council meeting spoke briefly about a certified letter that had been sent to Mayor Trotter.

This letter was from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) and was sent on Oct. 4.

It had been addressed to Mayor Trotter and the City of Winchester Council Members stating that “on June 21, 2019, the Division of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Office of Water Quality (OWQ) received a complaint of sewage going into the Coon Bayou.

DEQ investigated this complaint and revealed that an engineering report regarding Winchester Wastewater Improvements that states that sewage leaches from septic tanks and discharges into ditches that flow into Coon Bayou.

This report also proposed a connection of the City of Winchester sewer to the City of Dumas Wastewater.

On August 2, OWQ received a second complaint that was regarding un-permitted discharges into the Coon Bayou.

These discharges are in violation of the Federal Clean Water Act, Arkansas Water and Air Pollution Control Act., Ark. Code Ann, and the regulations and rules promulgated there under. Specifically, discharging sewage into waters of the state without having first obtained a written permit from DEQ is a violation of Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission Regulations.

Any violation of the Arkansas Water and Air Pollution Control Act subjects the City to an enforcement action by DEQ pursuant to Ark. Code Ann., which authorizes DEQ to assess an administrative civil penalty not to exceed ten thousand dollars per violation for any violation of any provision of the Arkansas Water and Air Pollution Control Act and any regulation or permit issued pursuant to Arkansas Water and Air Pollution Control Act.

In addition, pursuant to Ark. Code Ann., “each day of a continuing violation may be deemed a separate violation for purposes of penalty assessment.”

The City of Winchester shall take immediate action to stop all un-permitted discharges. OWQ requests City of Winchester submit, within fourteen (14) calendar days of receipt of this letter, a copy of the signed agreement with City of Dumas for the sewer connection to City of Dumas Wastewater
or a Corrective Action Plan, prepared by a Professional Engineer licensed in the state of Arkansas, detailing the actions that will be taken to prevent further un-permitted discharges to waters of the state. Failure to address these un-permitted discharges and provide the requested items may result in formal enforcement by DEQ.

Should you have any questions concerning this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me at 501-682-0640, or by email at healeyr@adeq.state.ar.us

This letter was from Richard Healey from the Enforcement Branch Manager from the Office of Water Quality.

Full Letter

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