Kentucky Division of Water levied a $3,000 civil penalty against the city of Catlettsburg for failing to comply with federal and state clean water standards. The state agency fined the city because Catlettsburg did not submit a Sewer Overflow Response Plan, as it agreed to do. The plan was due in May 2008, but the city still does not have a plan. The city claims that it is working on one and needs more time.
In August 2007, Catlettsburg officials signed an agreed order with the Cabinet to eliminate its combined sewer overflows (“CSOs”). CSOs collect sanitary sewage, industrial wastewater and storm water in a single combined sewer system. During large rainfalls, the total water flows exceed the capacity of the collection system and/or treatment facilities, which causes them to overflow and pollute the receiving river with human shit and industrial waste.
Overflowing CSOs are not good for the river or anything that lives in or around the river. CSOs are now good for folks who depend on the river for their drinking water supply.
This incident is not the first civil penalty levied against the city. Catlettsburg was in trouble in February 2009. Once again, the city missed a deadline for a document required by the Clean Water Act. That resulted in a $4,000 civil penalty. Does any sense a common thread here?
To compound the current problem, Catlettsburg is also behind on getting a new permit for its waste water treatment plants. The city’s current permit expired in 2006.
As my grand pappy used to say at an offending individual when he was upset at him, “what we have here is a classic example of a failure to communicate.” Lesson to the wise: get your reporting submittals done on time and stop wasting public funds on civil penalties.