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City of Great Falls, Montana and Malteurop North America, Inc.

(Denver, Colo. – March 5, 2014) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that the City of Great Falls, Mont., and Malteurop North America, Inc. (Malteurop) have agreed to control wastewater discharges that generate high levels of toxic gas in the City’s sewer system. The City has also agreed to make improvements to its wastewater treatment system to reduce raw sewage overflows in the city and the Missouri River. 

Overview of Parties

The City of Great Falls (City), a municipality within the State of Montana, owns and operates a Publically Owned Treatment Works (POTW) that consists of a service population of approximately 63,000 with over 20,000 service connections, 29 pump stations, more than 234 miles of sewer lines, approximately 4,300 manholes, and a waste water treatment plant (WWTP) that has a dry weather design capacity of 21 MGD (million gallons per day).

Malteurop North America, Inc. (Malteurop) is a Delaware corporation doing business in the State of Montana. Malteurop owns and operates a malting facility in Great Falls, Montana that discharges pollutants to the City’s POTW. Maleurop’s effluent goes to a City-owned lift station, from which it is pumped to a City force main that extends for approximately 7,700 feet, at which point it reaches a gravity sewer and, ultimately, the City’s WWTP.

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The Complaint alleges violations of Section 301 of the Clean Water Act (CWA), 33 U.S.C. § 1311, which prohibits the discharge of pollutants into waters of the United States except in compliance with a permit issued pursuant to Section 402 of the CWA, 33 U.S.C. § 1342, as follows:

  • The City incurred violations related to National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements to properly operate and control discharges from Industrial Users (IUs) to the City’s POTW.  
  • Malteurop discharged pollutants into the City’s sanitary sewer system causing toxic levels of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in violation of 40 C.F.R. § 403.5(b)(7).
  • The City failed to properly respond to and address requirements of several Administrative Orders issued by the EPA.
  • The City experienced at least 33 Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs) due to improper operation and maintenance and excessive infiltration and inflow, among other related violations.

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Injunctive Relief

The City of Great Falls, Montana

Pursuant to the Consent Decree, the City will implement the following injunctive relief measures:

  • The settlement with the City requires significant improvements to the City’s Pretreatment Program:
    • Development and submission to the EPA checklists for use in reviewing self-monitoring reports from all significant industrial users (SIUs);
    • Development and submission to the EPA SIU-specific sampling protocols, including limits necessary to comply with the City’s Municipal Code
    • Issuance of SIU permits in compliance with an EPA-approved template for any new SIU discharging biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and/or sulfate;
    • Undertake actions to line manholes that have corroded, to monitor manholes for corrosion in the future, and to take enforcement actions against IUs that cause corrosion;
    • Install and maintain a monitoring system for H2S; and,
    • Implementation of an Enforcement Response Plan.
  • Additionally, the City is required to undertake relief necessary to prevent SSOs:
    • Development and implement a comprehensive Capacity, Management, Operations, and Maintenance (CMOM) Program to prevent SSOs. The CMOM includes programs to:
      • Control fats, oils, and grease (“FOG” program);
      • Manage root growth in City sewers; and,
      • Control infiltration and inflow (“I/I”) into City sanitary sewer system.

Malteurop North America, Inc.

Pursuant to the Consent Decree, Malteurop will implement the following injunctive relief measures:

  • The settlement requires construction of a private force main and operation of specialized equipment designed to prevent the formation of hazardous gases in the City’s sanitary sewer system at a cost of approximately $1,800,000.
  • The Consent Decree requires Malteurop to meet the following in-sewer limits for H2S at a specified manhole in the City’s sewer system:  no more than 20 ppm for more than 10 consecutive minutes and no greater than 50 ppm at any time.
    • For the first six months after the date of entry of the Consent Decree, stipulated penalties will not apply to Malteurop provided it operates the existing superoxygenation system with backup chemical dosing system according to certain parameters to allow for the construction of the force main described above.
  • Additionally, the settlement requires monitoring equipment and requirements and best practices all designed to resolve pretreatment violations and risks to public health.

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Pollutant Reduction

The EPA estimates that 121,768 pounds of pollutants will be reduced annually as a result of this settlement. Therefore, during the effective period of this Consent Decree approximately 426,188 pounds of pollutants will be reduced as a result of this settlement.

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Civil Penalty

Malteurop will pay a civil penalty of $525,000. The City will pay a cash penalty of $120,000 and perform an approved Supplemental Environmental Project in the amount of at least $125,000. The United States and the State of Montana will split the cash penalty paid by the City.

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Comment Period

The proposed settlement, lodged in the United States District Court for the District of Montana, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. Information on submitting comments is available on the Department of Justice website.

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For more information, contact:

Clarke Thurmon 
Water Enforcement Division
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. (MC-2243A)
Washington, D.C. 20460
(202) 564-5587

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