Drinking Water Enforcement: Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and Department of Correction Hickman County Facility Enter into Consent Order

Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, P.L.L.C.
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Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, P.L.L.C.

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The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (“TDEC”) and Tennessee Department of Correction (“Correction”) entered into a December 7th Consent Order and Assessment (“Consent Order”) addressing alleged violations of the Tennessee rules implementing the Safe Drinking Water Act. See Case No. DWS 20-0028.

The Consent Order provides that Correction operates the Turney Center Industrial Complex (“Facility”) in Hickman County, Tennessee.

The Facility is stated to operate and/or control a community public water system (“System”). The System is stated to serve 11 connections and a population of 1,558 persons. It is classified as a Subpart H system, which includes using surface water sources.

The System provides treatment by disinfection via chlorination and uses conventional filtration.

Personnel from the Division of Water Resources (“Division”) of TDEC are stated to have conducted file reviews related to the Facility. Such file reviews are stated to have determined that for the following compliance period corrections failed to maintain drinking water below the Maximum Contaminant Level (“MCL”) for the disinfection byproduct Total Trihalomethanes (“TTHM”):

  • September 30, 2017
  • December 31, 2017
  • September 30, 2019
  • December 31, 2019
  • March 31, 2020

The Consent Order also provides that Site 201 of the Facility returned a LRAA MCL TTHM result of 0.085 mg/L for the third quarter of 2017, 0.084 mg/L for the fourth quarter of 2017, 0.090 mg/L for the third quarter of 2019, 0.88 mg/L for the fourth quarter of 2019, and 0.083 mg/L for the first quarter of 2020.

Correction is stated to have been notified of the violations.

Significant progress is stated to have been made by Correction to bring the Facility into compliance and maintain TTHM levels below 0.080 mg/L. Activities to address these issues are stated to include:

  • Hiring a new plant operations contractor
  • Engaging an engineering firm to evaluate plant design, plant operations, and the distribution system
  • Decreased detention time in storage tanks
  • Forced turnover in storage tanks
  • Distribution system flushing
  • Sedimentation basin and plate settler cleaning
  • Plant design evaluation

Such activities, in conjunction with others, are stated to have allowed Correction to maintain compliance with TTHM local running annual averages. Further, additional modifications that address TTHM are stated to have been developed and evaluated which include:

  • Reduction of TOC during water treatment by enhanced coagulation
  • Changes to the injection point of chlorine disinfectant

$20,000 in costs are stated to have been incurred to date to return to compliance.

The Consent Order provides that by failing to maintain TTHM LRAA levels below the MCL for the third and fourth quarter of 2017, the third and fourth quarter of 2019, and the first quarter of 2020, Correction violated Rule 0400-45-01-.06(6)(b)2(i).

The Consent Order assesses a civil penalty of $5,520.

The Consent Order also requires that Correction submit a plan for the 120-day plant and distribution system optimization study (“Study”) that characterizes water quality in relation to disinfection byproducts through the treatment plant and the entire System. Additional timelines and activities are required in terms of improving the plan, including development of the Corrective Action Plan to provide customers with drinking water below LRAA MCL for Haloacetic Acids 5 and TTHM.

A copy of the Consent Order can be downloaded here.

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