TRWA Submits Comments in Support of New CWA Permit for Fall River

On March 4th TRWA submitted comments in support of EPA’s new draft Clean Water Act (CWA) permit for Fall River, MA. TRWA noted that the last time this permit was reissued was December 7, 2000 making this action overdue. The permit is important because it contains effluent limitations and a schedule for removing nitrogen a potent pollutant driving algae blooms and low dissolved oxygen levels in the Taunton River estuary and Mount Hope Bay.

Middleborough, Mansfield, and Brockton currently have upgraded wastewater treatment facilities which remove nitrogen. Bridgewater and Taunton have upgraded facilities for nitrogen removal under construction which are scheduled for completion the end of 2024. Bridgewater is scheduled for phosphorus removal in 2027.

This leaves Somerset and Fall River as the only two major wastewater treatment facilities in the Taunton River watershed without new permits requiring nitrogen removal. The public comment period on the Fall River permit closes on April 1, 2024.

A copy of TRWA’s comments on the Fall River draft permit may be found at this link.

This permit also has conditions concerning Fall River’s 18 combined sewer overflows (CSOs) which adversely impact water quality. These conditions include monitoring, effluent limitations and dye studies for the city’s two CSO treatment facilities. In the permit fact sheet EPA states that it intends to issue an updated CSO Administrative Order by the end of 2024 with a schedule for additional CSO abatement projects to be completed in the next five years. TRWA noted in it’s comments that the city first received a CSO court order 32 years ago but still has major overflow events. TRWA asked for an aggressive order and program which takes advantage of all available funding.

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