Wastewater Enforcement: Arkansas Department of Energy & Environment – Division of Environmental Quality and City of Norphlet Sign Administrative Order | Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, PLLC – Low Calorie Diets Tips

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The Arkansas Department of Energy & Environment – Division of Environmental Quality (“DEQ”) and the City of Norphlet, Arkansas (“Norphlet”) signed a Consent Administrative Order (“CAO”) on April 26 addressing alleged violations of a Clean Water Act National Permit for a Pollutant Disposal System (“NPDES”). See LIS #22-047.

Norphlet is to operate a municipal sewage treatment plant (“Plant”) in Union County, Arkansas.

The plant is designed to discharge treated wastewater through a drain into an unnamed tributary of Flat Creek, which will eventually flow into the Ouachita River. Such discharge will be approved pursuant to an NPDES permit.

DEQ and Norphlet are reported to have issued a Consent Administrative Order, LIS 16-012, on January 28, 2016, to address effluent violations. On June 8, 2017, DEQ is said to have requested a status report on the status of wastewater wetland rehabilitation. Progress reports on final compliance with allowable effluent limits have reportedly been submitted on various dates.

Norphlet submitted a request to DEQ to extend the Final Compliance Date and Corrective Action Plan (“CAP”) by 60 days on March 8, 2019. The purpose of the extension is to consider the following:

. . . how the results of a study to change the total maximum daily load (TMDL) for minerals at Haynes Creek could impact permit limits.

On March 10, 2019, Norphlet submitted a progress report detailing Best Management Practices (“BMPs”) for Chlorides, Sulfates and Total Dissolved Solids (“TDS”).

Norphlet notified DEQ on April 24, 2019 that the sanitation project has been suspended for 90 days to await a decision on the Haynes Creek TMDL Modification Study.

DEQ is reported to have conducted a routine compliance inspection and an inspection of the facility’s sanitary effluent overflow/collection system on June 5, 2019. The following violations were allegedly identified:

  • No influent samples have been analyzed for carbonaceous biochemical oxygen demand (CBOD5) and total suspended solids (TSS) in the past three (3) years
  • The chlorinator and aerator were not in operation
  • Total residual chlorine (TRC) analyzes were not performed for December 2017 and January 2018

DEQ received a response regarding the alleged violations from Norphlet on July 31, 2019 and subsequently met with the agency to discuss the following:

  • pipeline
  • refurbishment of the facility
  • Repeated violations of sewage

DEQ is said to have sent a letter to Norphlet requesting that the following information be provided:

  1. Complete a Professional Engineer (PE) assessment and review of the facility;
  2. A PE certified and stamped CAP detailing the state of the facility, milestones to address the identified deficiencies and achieve approval compliance, and a request for amendment to CAO LIS 16-012 with a revised milestone schedule and final completion date contains;
  3. A plan for the operator to obtain a Class II wastewater operator license;
  4. Total Residual Chlorine Overdue (TRC) Progress Report; and
  5. A response to the inspection carried out on June 5, 2019.

DEQ also required coordination with its accreditation body prior to any change to the facility.

Norphlet submitted a CAP proposal on August 30, 2019, requesting the modification of the previous CAO. In addition, DEQ informed Norphlet on October 29, 2019 that its previous response sufficiently addressed the violations found during the June 5, 2019 inspection. In addition, Norphlet submitted an updated progress report on November 7, 2019.

DEQ notified Norphlet on March 3, 2020 that the annual report for chlorides and sulfates required for its NPDES approval had not been received. The report was subsequently filed by Norphlet on March 4, 2020.

DEQ informed Norphlet that the TRC-BMP plan was appropriate in the 2019 annual report. However, it found that the 2019 annual report does not address the facility’s compliance issues and does not meet the requirements set out in Part 1, Section B, Condition 2 of the NPDES approval.

In response, DEQ advised Norphlet that the revised CAP was appropriate and requested that an application be submitted to amend CAO LIS 16-012 and an updated milestone timeline. This request was subsequently submitted by Norphlet.

DEQ reportedly conducted a review of certified discharge monitoring reports on May 26. The review allegedly found the following violations:

  1. Thirty (30) violations of chlorides;
  2. Fifteen (15) total suspended solids violations;
  3. Fifteen (15) Ammonia Nitrogen Violations; and
  4. Eight (8) fecal coliform violations.

This CAO expires on its Effective Date CAO LIS 16-012.

Within 30 calendar days of the effective date of this CAO, Norphlet DEQ shall submit for review and approval a revised CAP, developed by a professional Arkansas engineer, that shall include the methods and best available technologies to correct the violations listed in the Findings of Detect and prevent future violations. A reasonable timeline of milestones with a final completion date must be included. In addition, once approved, it will become part of the CAO.

Quarterly progress reports are required.

There will be a $5,600 civil penalty, conditionally suspended if Norphlet fully complies with the CAO.

A copy of the CAO can be downloaded here.

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