The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has fined the Oak Lodge Sanitary District a total of $14,003 in two separate penalties for recent water-quality violations.

DEQ fined the district $6,000 for allowing a total of 45,500 gallons of untreated wastewater to flow into Linden Creek from a pump station at 2704 S.E. Park Ave. on June 29 and July 4. The sewage discharged directly into the creek, which flows into the Willamette River. DEQ determined the cause of discharge in both cases to be an improperly configured pump control system that caused the pumps to shut down and failed to alert staff that the pumps were no longer working.

Discharge of sewage into state waters such as Linden Creek can pose a public health threat through direct human contact or through contact with insects that have been in contact with the sewage.

Sewage is a significant pollutant that can harm aquatic life and make public waters unfit for human use.

DEQ also issued the district a second penalty, for $8,003, for failing to monitor its stormwater discharge at least four times a year, as required by its discharge permit. DEQ’s analysis of the district’s monitoring reports showed that the district monitored its discharge for pollutants only twice during the 2012-13 monitoring year. The district monitors discharges from its wastewater treatment facility at 13750 S.E. Renton Ave., along the Willamette River.

Complete, regular monitoring of stormwater discharge is essential to the state’s evaluation of the district’s ability to meet pollutant limits in its effluent. Without complete monitoring data, DEQ can’t effectively analyze potential harmful environmental consequences. Oak Lodge Sanitary District has until Oct. 14 to notify DEQ that it wishes to appeal the penalties.

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