EPA, truck repair firm settle Clean Water Act violations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached a settlement with Seattle-based truck sales and repair shop, Western Peterbilt, LLC. The agreement resolves violations of the federal Clean Water Act, which were discovered in 2012.

Western Peterbilt is the current operator of a full-service truck shop, with a parts department, service department and body shop located in Seattle. In 2012, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) conducted dye tests on the facility's water system and discovered that Western Peterbilt's discharges were draining directing into the city's stormwater system illegally.

SPU issued Western Peterbilt a Notice of Violation and ordered the company to clean the stormwater systems near the facility and permanently block the connection between the shop's wastewater system and the City of Seattle's stormwater system.

Western Peterbilt immediately filled the connecting pipe with concrete and began a program to collect wastewater and send it offsite for treatment. Despite the rectification, the company was in violation of the NPDES provision of the federal Clean Water Act, forcing the EPA to conduct its own investigation.

The agency levied a penalty of $129,000 against the company for allowing process-produced wastewater and polluted stormwater to discharge into the Seattle drainage system without a permit.

According to the EPA, "The NPDES permitting system is a national program under Section 402 of the Clean Water Act, regulating pollutant discharges from point sources to waters of the United States. Discharges are illegal unless authorized by an NPDES permit. In Washington, the Washington Department of Ecology normally manages the NPDES permitting and enforcement program, but EPA always retains the authority to conduct compliance and enforcement actions."

Environmental consultants can help businesses of all sizes comply with federal wastewater regulations and avoid significant penalties.