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Consent Order Overview

On July 11, 2007, the County of Oneida entered into a Consent Order with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation  (NYSDEC) pertaining to wet weather discharges into the Mohawk River from the Sauquoit Creek Pumping Station.  The Consent Order settled an enforcement action that had been brought by NYSDEC against the County since the County holds the permit for discharges from the sewer district to the river.

This State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permit governs the discharge of sewage to the waters of the state.  It authorizes the County to discharge treated effluent into the Mohawk River from Outfall 001 and a combined sewer overflow (CSO) discharge into the river from Outfall 002 at the Sauquoit Creek Pump Station.

A CSO results when a wastewater collection system, by design, conveys combined sewage by way of an overflow to the waters of the State when that collection system becomes overloaded, which can occur during periods of wet weather. An SSO results when a wastewater collection system, by design, includes sewage, but incidentally includes stormwater-related inflow and infiltration (I&I) discharges to state waters.

Following an inspection in early 2007, NYSDEC determined that the sewers connected to Outfall 002 were primarily sanitary sewers, thus this Outfall was a sanitary sewer overflow (SSO).

A subsequent Notice of Hearing and Complaint was served on the County, which contained four causes of action and a proposed consent order.  The County began negotiating the terms of the consent order and responded to the complaint.

Had the County failed to agree a Consent Order, it would be liable for a penalty of up to $37,500 per violation per day plus injunctive relief.  By agreeing to the terms, it will instead pay a civil penalty of $150,000 and complete required repairs and remediation according to a specific schedule and timetable mandated by the state.

According to the terms of the Consent Order, the County must take the following actions:

  • Pay the civil penalty on the effective date of the order (July 11, 2007)
  • Provide all Sauquoit Creek Pump Station tributary municipalities with a copy of the Order and submit proof of service to the DEC within two weeks of the effective date of the Order.
  • Within six months of the effective date of the Order, submit a plan ensuring that any new connection to the collection system of Outfall 002 is offset by removal of I&I in an amount 5 times the flow the new connections are expected to contribute until discharges are in compliance with the permit.
  • Submit to DEC for its approval any new connections and/or extensions prior to hook up, and submit certification that these comply with I&I offset requirements.
  • Within five months of the effective date of the Order, submit to DEC for review and approval a flow management plan that includes a schedule of implementation.
  • Within four months of the effective date of the Order, submit to DEC and inter-municipal sewer overflow response plan.  The plan must be implemented within one month of receipt of the DECís comments.
  • Within six months, submit to DEC an engineering report evaluating remedial measures to reduce and/or treat discharges from Sauquoit Creek Pump Station until discharges from Outfall 002 are brought into compliance with the permit.
  • Within four months of the effective date, submit proposed inter-municipal agreements and other enforceable legal documents ensuring the Countyís authority to implement the I&I offset program.  These documents must be finalized within 30 days of receipt of the DECís comments.
  • Within three years of the effective date, submit to DEC a plan of study, and an approvable plan and implementation schedule to bring Outfall 002 in compliance by October 31, 2014.

The execution of the Consent Order was the culmination of six months of settlement negotiations with the NYSDEC.  Although the County believes it had meritorious defenses to the NYSDEC action, it chose to settle the matter expeditiously in order to provide a long-term solution for wet weather discharges to the river and to provide an immediate mechanism to allow development to continue throughout the Sauquoit Creek Pumping Station service area while these remediation projects are underway.

Consent Order

Schedule A