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In re City of Taunton Department of Public Works

Case Number:NPDES Appeal No. 15-08
ELR Citation:47 ELR 41389

The City of Taunton (“City”) petitioned the Environmental Appeals Board (“Board”) to review a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) Permit (“Permit”) that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA” or “Agency”) Region 1 (“Region”) issued to the City on April 10, 2015. The Permit authorizes the City to discharge wastewater effluent from its advanced secondary wastewater treatment facility (“Plant”) into the Taunton River, and subsequently Mount Hope Bay, in Massachusetts. Among other things, the Permit includes a limit on nitrogen discharges from the Plant. The City’s 2001 permit did not contain a limit on nitrogen discharges.

The City challenges both the need for a nitrogen limit in the Permit and the specific nitrogen limit imposed. The City further challenges other aspects of the Permit’s nitrogen provisions, including the requirement to reduce nitrogen year-round, the compliance schedule for achieving the nitrogen limit, and the interim limit for nitrogen. Finally, the City challenges the Permit’s copper limits, the Region’s decision not to set separate wet weather limits, the Region’s authority to limit flow, the City’s ability to “blend” peak wet weather flows, and the City’s potential liability for the activities of co-permittees.

HELD: The City has not demonstrated that review is warranted on any of the grounds presented. As such, the Board denies the Petition for Review in all respects.