This story was originally published in Public Works.

Adobe Stock / domnitsky

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reached a settlement with the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District for chemical safety and risk management violations at the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant. The sanitation district will pay a $37,830 civil penalty and make improvements to its risk management practices. In addition to the civil penalty, the settlement requires the sanitation district certify that certain equipment complies with risk management plan requirements, update the piping and instrument diagrams included in its risk management plan, and arrange for a third-party audit after upgrading the gas management system.

The sanitation district will also spend an estimated $100,500 in support of emergency planning and preparedness programs. The sanitation district will provide the county's Environmental Management Department with an incident response vehicle, portable radios, and response gear. The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District will receive a handheld device to identify chemicals.

U.S. EPA inspected the facility in May 2016 and found staff had not immediately investigated three separate releases of chlorine in 2013 and 2014. Failure to notify the National Response Center is in violation of the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act’s reporting requirements. Facility staff had not complied with EPA’s risk management program regulations, in violation of the Clean Air Act.

The Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant is located on Laguna Station Road in Elk Grove, Calif. The facility treats wastewater from the cities of Sacramento, Folsom, West Sacramento, Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova, and Citrus Heights; the communities of Courtland and Walnut Grove; and unincorporated Sacramento County.

Proper implementation of risk management programs helps prevent and control chemical releases at facilities that store large amounts of regulated substances, which helps protect public health and the environment.

This story was originally published in Public Works.