One year ago, the Environmental Protection Agency issued an Administrative Order to the Town of Plymouth for violating the Clean Water Act by discharging improperly treated sewage into Plymouth Harbor. Veolia Water, a French corporation, is contracted by the Town to operate the wastewater treatment plant. In a period of 10 months, untreated and minimally treated raw sewage was discharged into Plymouth Harbor on multiple occasions – ranging from 500 to 100,000 gallons.
The Administrative Order required the Town to submit information and records to EPA, and to develop and implement a Corrective Action Plan by the end of 2013.
With the exception of one requested extension, the Town has met its deadlines for submitting information and documents to EPA, including its Capacity, Management, Operation, and Maintenance (CMOM) Corrective Action Plan (submitted March 2014). The plan provides an overview of corrective actions already taken, as well as those that are underway. The Town and Veolia plan to manage, maintain, repair, and upgrade the town’s sewer collection system in a “systematic and proactive manner.” The plan also provides an implementation schedule for addressing deficiencies and action items.
The Town now must also submit annual reports every January, which detail actions taken the prior year to resolve deficiencies identified in the CMOM Corrective Action Plan, as well as a summary of any overflows and spills.
We are in the process of further reviewing and analyzing the CMOM Corrective Action Plan to see if it includes the necessary components to fully protect Plymouth Harbor and Cape Cod Bay. We have closely monitored this issue over the past year – and will continue to do so. It’s important that the Town of Plymouth, Veolia, and the EPA are continued to be held accountable for the pollution of our coastal waters.