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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken enforcement action against Utilities Inc., the parent company of South Carolina's Tega Cay Water Services, for failing to prevent at least 27 sewer overflows since the start of 2013.
The violations of the Clean Water Act were discovered during a joint inspection carried out by officials with the EPA and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control in December 2013. The EPA issued a violation notice to the company, addressing the breaches detected during the inspection.
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According to a statement issued by the federal agency, the sanitary sewer overflows occurred between Jan. 1, 2013, and Jan. 2, 2014. Over the 12 months, an estimated 446,350 gallons of untreated sewage were discharged by the Tega Cay Water Services' wastewater collection and transmission system. Of the recorded sewer overflows, at least 18 discharged untreated sewage into navigable waterways of the United States, the EPA said.
As part of the violation notice, the federal and state regulators require the company to implement extensive rehabilitation and improvement of its wastewater treatment plant and of the infrastructure associated with its operations during the next two years. In addition, the company will have to develop written programs dealing with management, operations and maintenance at the plant. Further enforcement action may follow, until the company achieves consistent compliance, the EPA pointed out.