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Oyster banks in Plymouth. (Photo: Town of Plymouth Massachusetts)

Treatment plant operator to pay USD 1.6 million for causing shellfish bed closures

Click on the flag for more information about United States UNITED STATES
Friday, April 13, 2018, 00:20 (GMT + 9)

Wastewater treatment plant operator Veolia, based in Plymouth, Massachusetts, agreed to pay USD 1.6 million for allegedly failing to properly maintain and operate its wastewater treatment plant, causing shellfish bed closures in the harbour.

“By failing to properly maintain and operate wastewater treatment facilities, companies like Veolia are not only violating the law, they are threatening public health and our invaluable coastal water resources,” Attorney General Maura Healey pointed out.

“Today’s settlement brings back critical funds to the state and secures needed funding for significant improvements to Plymouth Harbor, local shellfish beds, and our coastal ecosystem,” the official added.

For his part, Commissioner Martin Suuberg of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) stressed that the resulting failure of the wastewater system required emergency action by the town, MassDEP and other parties to abate the spills and work toward a properly functioning system.”

Under the terms of the settlement the company to pay the state a USD 1.35 million civil penalty, along with USD 250,000 to fund the state’s Marine Mammals and Fisheries Research and Conservation Trust to benefit Plymouth Harbor.

The environmental trust payment will fund projects to promote and maintain a healthy coastal ecosystem in and around Plymouth Harbor, including surveying shellfish growing areas, such as water quality sampling and contributing to the implementation of a planned dye study to track the treatment plant’s effluent in Plymouth Harbor; distributing shellfish seed for planting in areas used by recreational shellfishermen; initiating a volunteer program to monitor and document the health of eelgrass beds; and funding the Division of Marine Fisheries to implement the removal of the Elm Street Dam on the Jones River.

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