The Town of North Providence, R.I. will pay a $15,000 penalty and spend an additional $86,000to install a municipal sewer line and to replace faulty private sewers in the Warren Street neighbourhood. This supplemental environmental project, required under the terms of the settlement with EPA, is designed to eliminate sewer system backups in an area that has experienced discharges of raw sewage inside housing units and into the street, presenting an environmental and public health threat.
As part of its effort to eliminate sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) in Rhode Island, EPA, working closely with the R.I. Dept. of Environmental Management (RI DEM), has issued administrative orders to 12 communities and a wastewater utility, requiring them to take the actions necessary to maintain their wastewater collection systems and ensure the protection of Rhode Island water quality and the public health of its residents. The Orders require each entity to conduct a system-wide assessment of its collection system, develop a plan to address any deficiencies identified, adopt long-term preventive maintenance programs, and provide an annual report to EPA listing overflows that have occurred and specific actions taken during the previous year to comply with the order.
The orders are intended to get Rhode Island communities on track to take the necessary steps to maintain their wastewater collection systems and ensure the protection of Rhode Island’s water quality and the public health of its residents. EPA’s orders complement ongoing actions that the RI DEM has taken across the state to control SSOs.
EPA’s ability to obtain timely and accurate information from regulated communities is central to the administration and enforcement of Clean Water Act. North Providence’s failure to provide the required information undercuts the ability of both the EPA and the RI DEM to protect the environment and public health in Rhode Island.