Wastewater Enforcement: Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment – Division of Environmental Quality and City of Flippin Enter into Consent Administrative Order | Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, P.L.L.C.

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The Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment – Division of Environmental Quality (“DEQ”) and the City of Flippin, Arkansas (“Flippin”) received approval of the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) on the 21st. See LIS No. 21-104.

The CAO provides that Flippin divert purified wastewater into the Ash Creek trap, which eventually flows into the White River.

The system discharge is regulated according to an NPDES permit.

Flippin reportedly filed a non-compliance letter on June 20, 2018 with a non-compliance report to explain an ammonia nitrogen breach reported during the May 2018 monitoring period.

The letter is said to contain detailed plans that Flippin had to clean, photograph, and inspect the entire collection system. This letter also included a final settlement date in November 2019 for repairs and in May 2019 for repairs to the collection system to be completed. DEQ was notified of a delay on October 23, 2018.

Flippin provided a preliminary schedule of planned improvements to the facility and collection system with a final completion date in February 2021 and an application to terminate the current building permit.

Flippin has submitted a Memorandum of Agreement (“MOA”) between the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission and Flippin that sets project funding along with a planning and design plan for wastewater improvements. The MOA named October 1st as the final fulfillment date.

DEQ reportedly conducted a compliance assistance inspection at the facility on February 28, 2020. The inspection report found Flippin participating in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Circuit Rider Assistance Program, including helping the federal agency develop a compliance plan. The EPA presented the first draft of Flippin’s compliance plan on April 22, 2020, which was developed as part of such a program.

DEQ reportedly conducted a routine conformity assessment inspection of the facility on August 18, 2020. This inspection is said to have documented the following violations:

  • Wastewater violations were reported during the monitoring periods from April 2019 to November 2019
  • Secondary flow meter has not been calibrated by a qualified technician since 2010
  • Failure to submit non-compliance reports (NCRs) for wastewater violations reported in 2019

DEQ reportedly sent an email asking Flippin to submit the missing non-compliance reports for the following monitoring periods:

  1. 2018: May; June; September; December;
  2. 2019: February; March; April; June; July; and September

Flippin subsequently stated that it was awaiting DEQ approval for the state building permit and that reports of non-compliance would be presented. An update on the status of improvement projects in the facility was delivered on March 31st.

DEQ requested an updated corrective action plan (“CAP”) on May 17th, which was submitted on May 19th. It conducted a review of the sanitary wastewater overflows (“SSOs”) reported by Flippin under the permit for the period from April 1, 2018 to April 30, 2021. 68 SSOs were reported.

A DEQ review of the certified drainage monitoring reports submitted by Flippin was conducted by the agency on July 29 and is believed to have highlighted the following violations:

  1. Eighty-four (84) ammonia nitrogen violations
  2. Thirty (30) carbon-containing biochemical oxygen demand violations;
  3. Two (2) total suspended solids violations; and
  4. One (1) fecal coliform bacteria violation.

The CAO requires Flippin to immediately comply with the updated CAP of May 19, 2022 with a final compliance date of November 30, 2022. The updated GAP, Milestone Plan and Final Compliance Date are fully enforceable as terms of the CAO.

By December 31, 2022, Flippin must submit a Certificate of Conformity from an Arkansas Professional Engineer showing that the corrective actions listed in the revised CAP have been completed and Flippin is in compliance. Quarterly progress reports must be submitted.

There will be a civil penalty of $ 3,400 with a conditional suspension if Flippin fully complies with the CAO.

A copy of the CAO can be downloaded here.

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