A Winfield, West Virginia sewer plant may be fined due to its repeated environmental violations, including discharging over seven times the permitted daily amount of fecal bacteria one Halloween. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has proposed fining the sewer plant over $21,5000 due to 17 violations.
The greatest violation was the discharge on Halloween, while the 16 other violations – determined during the time period of May 21, 2012 to May 21, 2014 – were of the sewage plant’s water quality permit limits for ammonia nitrogen.
A draft order of the Department of Environmental Protection claims that the 16 other violations ranged from the amount of ammonia nitrogen being eight percent above the monthly limit to as much as 90 percent above. When ammonia is in the water, it decreases the amount of dissolved oxygen. If there is too much, it poses a threat to fish, or at least affects their growth or their overall health. Too much ammonia nitrogen can also feed algal blooms by creating an excess of nitrogen in surface waters. The city of Winfield is seeking to replace the sewage plant by the fall of 2016, and it is working out an arrangement with the Department of Environmental Protection to pay for new plant construction.
While the city had had problems with ammonia nitrogen in the past, it had not been fined for exceeding the limits before. The proposed fines might end up being removed before the order became final, but such a situation would be “very rare.” City officials believe that the city is being punished for the laxity of past administrations, which feared raising rates to build a new plant. The current officials do not know what the new rates would be for the plant, which was expected to cost $500,000, but that it would take a while for the rates to go into effect. Some estimated that the monthly sewer bill could rise from $36 to as much as $64 to fund the project.
It is encouraging that the city of Winfield is preparing to take action, for sewage in the water is a dangerous condition that can sicken numerous people. Should you tie your illness to contaminated water, you have the option of filing a lawsuit against the city or other entities responsible for the problem. You would argue that these entities had a duty to provide safe drinking water to foreseeable plaintiffs, including residents like you. Their failure to do so was a breach of that duty, and as a result of the breach, you experienced an illness that may have led to more lasting problems. In the lawsuit, you would seek damages for things such as pain and suffering, loss of income, medical bills, and more.
The Wolfe Law Firm has been providing legal services for nearly 25 years. Located in Elkins, West Virginia, the firm provides services in the areas of personal injury, criminal defense, bankruptcy, and mediation. If you are looking for an experienced West Virginia personal injury attorney, contact us today.