San Joaquin River DOTMDL -- Technical Working Group

Stockton Fined $2.4M Water Violations - February 10, 2010

STOCKTON, Calif. -- The state has ordered the city of Stockton to pay $2.425 million for illegally discharging 8.7 million gallons of partially-treated, undisinfected effluent to the San Joaquin River from the city's wastewater treatment plant.

The State Water Resources Control Board announced the civil liability assessment on Wednesday.

The move will result in increased staffing levels at the treatment plant, resulting in more oversight and enhanced compliance with the city's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.

In addition, the penalty will result in a third party auditor reviewing the plant's operations over the next three years.

Finally, $350,000 of the penalty will be deposited into the water board's cleanup and abatement account, and will be allocated by the board to pay for projects that cleanup or abate waste where there is not an otherwise viable responsible party available to do the work.

At the time of the violation, the plant was operated by a private entity, OMI-Thames Water Stockton, Inc., under contract with the city. However, the water board may only impose penalties to the permitee, which is the city of Stockton. The city has since ended its contract with OMI-Thames.

The discharge, which violated the city's NPDES permit, occurred on June 16, 2006, and went on for 10 hours, from 8:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. The discharge was caused by an open effluent diversion gate located near the treatment plant's outfall.

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