Between December 2004 and February 2008, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted inspections of the SASM and member-agency systems. During this period, 110 sewage overflows occurred. The largest overflow occurred on January 25, 2008 and discharged approximately 2.45 million gallons of screened wastewater from the SASM treatment plant into the Pickleweed Inlet of Richardson Bay.
The EPA determined that the unpermitted discharge was caused in part by excessive inflow and infiltration from the member agencies’ that resulted in peak flows to the wastewater treatment plant. (Inflow is water into the collection system from unauthorized connections like yard drains for example. Infiltration is groundwater seepage into the collection system through defective pipe joints). The EPA also concluded that the aging and deteriorated condition of many of the sewer pipes had contributed to the overflow.
The 2008 incident resulted in an Order of Compliance (Order) issued in April 2008 by the EPA to compel SASM and its member agencies to “consistently and substantially reduce the frequency and volume of sewage of spills to waters of the United States” and to “complete improvements necessary to eliminate conditions in its collection system that cause or contribute to wastewater spill from SASM’s collection system or wastewater treatment plant.” CWA-309(a)-08-030
This Order requires SASM and its member agencies to work together to implement a Sewage Spill Reduction Action Plan (SSRAP) with the goal to reduce and eliminate collection system sewage spills. The components of the SSRAP include the following:
The Sewer Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) has been developed to address the requirement of the SSRAP listed as Item 6. Infrastructure Renewal. The Preliminary Sewer CIP can be found attached as EXHIBIT A.