Sewer Use Rules and Regulations - September 2003
Article XIV - Delinquencies, Violations and Remedies
Section 14.01: Notice of Violation
1. The Authority may serve a written Notice of Violation (NOV) upon any User which the Authority determines has violated, or continues to violate, any provision of these regulations, a wastewater contribution permit or order issued hereunder, or any other pretreatment standard or requirement. The NOV shall indicate the nature of the violation, what actions (if any) are to be taken by the User, and a time frame within which the User is to respond to the NOV. Response to the NOV in accordance with its terms in no way relieves the User of liability for any violations occurring before or after receipt of the NOV. Nothing in this section shall limit the authority of the Authority to take any action, including emergency action or any other enforcement action, without first issuing a NOV.
2. Copies of any "Notice of Violation" shall be sent to the Participant.
3. Show Cause Hearing. The Authority may order a user which has violated or continues to violate any provision of these Sewer Use Rules and Regulations, a Wastewater Discharge Permit or order issued hereunder, or any other pretreatment standard or requirement, to appear before the Authority and show cause why the proposed enforcement action should not be taken. Notice shall be served on the user specifying the time and place for the meeting, the proposed enforcement action, the reasons for such action, and a request that the user show cause why the proposed enforcement action should not be taken. The Notice of the meeting shall be served personally or by registered or certified mail (return receipt requested) at least ten (10) days prior to the Hearing. Such Notice may be served on any authorized representative of the user. A show cause Hearing shall not be a bar against, or prerequisite for, taking any other action against the user.
Section 14.02: Consent Orders
1. The Authority may enter into Consent Orders, assurances of voluntary compliance, or other similar documents establishing an agreement with any User responsible for non-compliance. Such documents will include specific action to be taken by the User to correct the non-compliance within a time period specified by the document. Such documents shall have the same force and effect as orders issued pursuant to these regulations and shall be judicially enforceable.
Section 14.03: Compliance Orders
1. Upon determining that a User has violated, or continues to violate, any provisions of these regulations, a wastewater contribution permit or order issued hereunder, or any other pretreatment standard or requirement, the Authority may issue an order to the User responsible for the violation directing that the User come into compliance within a specified time. The compliance order may require that specific actions be taken by the User to facilitate the User's return to compliance and may specify penalties for failure to comply with the order. A compliance order may not extend the deadline for compliance established for a pretreatment standard or requirement, nor does a compliance order relieve the User of liability for any violation, including any continuing violation. Issuance of a compliance order shall not be a bar against, or a prerequisite for, taking any other action against the User.
Section 14.04: Cease and Desist Orders
1. Upon determining that a User has violated, or continues to violate, any provisions of these regulations, a wastewater contribution permit or order issued hereunder, or any other pretreatment standard or requirement, or that the User's past violations are likely to recur, the Authox:ity may issue an order to the User directing it to cease and desist all such violations. Such orders shall direct the User to immediately comply with all requirements and to take such appropriate remedial or preventive action necessary to properly address a continuing or threatened violation, including halting operations and/or terminating the discharge. Such order may direct the User to suspend the activities or discharge causing the violation until corrective actions have been taken by the User. Issuance of a cease and desist order shall not be a bar against, or a prerequisite for, taking any other action against the User.
Section 14.05: Termination of Service or Revocation of Discharge Permit
Any notice of violation will state the nature of its violation and the corrective measures required. Failure to correct the violation within the time specified in the notice from the Authority to the person or user, or within a reasonable time if no time limit is specified, may subject a person or user to the termination of its wastewater treatment service and/or the revocation of its Discharge Permit. The Participant shall receive copies of any correspondence relating to the termination of service or the revocation of a Discharge Permit of a user within its jurisdiction.
1. In the event of failure to pay the sewage collection, transportation, and treatment charge or surcharge or penalty after they become delinquent, the Authority may also authorize the appropriate personnel to shut off water service to said property or to remove or close the sewer connection and to take such steps as may be necessary to accomplish such shut off or removal or closing. The expense of such shutoff or removal or closing, as well as the expense of restoring any such service, shall likewise be a debt due the Authority and a lien on the property served and may be filed and collected as hereinabove provided.
Section 14.06: Civil Penalty Assessment
1. The Authority may issue a Summons for a violation of any provision of State law, including a violation of these Sewer Use Rules and Regulations if the amount of the civil penalty assessed is $5,000 or less. The Summons shall be enforceable in the Municipal Court of the territorial jurisdiction in which the violation occurred. The Summons shall be signed and issued by any person authorized to enforce the provisions of, and Appeals from a decision of, a Municipal Court shall be in accordance with the Rules Governing the Courts of the State.
2. Assessment of the violator for the reasonable costs of any investigation; inspection, or monitoring survey which lead to the establishment of the violation, and for the reasonable costs of preparing and litigating the case under this subsection;
3. Assessment of the violator for any reasonable costs incurred by the Authority in removing, correcting or terminating the adverse effects upon water quality resulting from any unauthorized discharge of pollutants for which the action under this subsection may have been brought;
4. Assessment against the violator of compensatory damages for any loss or destruction of wildlife, fish or aquatic life, or other natural resources, and for any other actual damages caused by an unauthorized discharge; and
5. Assessment against the violator of the actual amount of any economic benefits accruing to the violator from the violation. Economic benefits may include the amount of any savings realized from avoided capital or non-capital costs resulting from the violation; the return earned or that may be earned on the amount of avoided cost; any benefits accruing to the violator as a result of a competitive market advantage enjoyed by reason of the violation; or any other benefits resulting from the violation.
6. Pursuant to the provisions of the Publicly Owned Treatment Works Penalty Law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ("Penalty Law"), the Authority may assess a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $50,000.00 per violation per day against a User determined to have violated any provision of these regulations, a wastewater contribution permit or order issued hereunder, or any other pretreatment standard or requirement. Such penalty shall be assessed in accordance with the Civil Penalty Assessment policy adopted by the Board of Authority pursuant to the provisions of the Penalty Law. Such penalties shall be assessed on a per violation per day basis. In the case of monthly or other long term average contribution limits, penalties may be assessed for each day during the period of violation.
7. Operational Upset Exception. For the purposes of this section, a single operational upset which leads to simultaneous violations of more than one pretreatment standard or requirement shall be treated as a single violation.
8. Civil penalties assessed under this section shall be served upon the User in writing and include a description of the applicable appeals process to be followed, including the name, address, and telephone number of the person responsible for accepting such an appeal.
9. No assessment shall be levied by the Authority pursuant to this Section until after the Discharger has been notified by certified mail or personal service. The notice shall include a reference to the section of the statute, Regulation, Order or Permit condition violated; a concise statement of facts alleged to constitute a violation, a statement of the amount of the civil penalties to be imposed; and a statement of the party's right to a Hearing. The ordered party shall have twenty (20) days from receipt of the notice within which to deliver to the Authority a written request for a Hearing. After the Hearing and upon finding that a violation has occurred, the Authority may issue a final Order after assessing the amount of the fine specified in the notice. If no Hearing is requested, then the notice shall become a final Order after the expiration of the twenty (20) day period. Payment of the assessment is due when a final Order is issued or the notice becomes a final Order.
10. Assessment of a civil penalty shall not be a bar against, or a prerequisite for, taking any other action against the User.
Section 14.07: Imposition of Criminal Penalties
1. Criminal penalties for the violation of these regulations may be imposed in accordance with the ordinances of municipalities which are served by the Authority and with the Rules and Regulations.
Section 14.08: Authority May Obtain Injunctive Relief
1. Authority may obtain injunctive relief to enforce compliance with or restrain any violations of any pretreatment standard. Injunctive relief may be obtained upon the occurrence of one or more of the following:
a. A contribution from a User presents an imminent danger or substantial harm to the POTW or the public;
b. A contribution from a User presents an imminent or substantial endangerment to the environment;
c. A contribution from a User causes the POTW to violate any condition of its contribution permit; or
d. The User has shown a lack of ability or intention to comply with a pretreatment standard.
2. Notwithstanding subparagraph (a), an injunction affecting an industrial operation not directly related to the condition or violation in question, may be obtained if the court determines that other enforcement procedures would not be adequate to effect prompt correction of the condition or violation.
Section 14.09: Emergency Cessation of Contribution
1. The Authority may suspend the wastewater treatment service and/or Discharge Permit of a User where;
a. In the opinion of the Authority, it is necessary to stop an actual or threatened discharge which:
1) presents, or may present, an imminent or substantial endangerment to the health, safety or welfare of any person, including Authority personnel, any property, or to the environment;
2) causes any interference to the POTW, or;
3) causes, or would cause, the Authority to violate any condition of its NPDES permit.
b. The User fails to factually report the wastewater constituents and characteristics of its discharge;
c. The User fails to report significant changes in its operations, or wastewater constituents and characteristics;
d. The User fails to provide reasonable access to its premises for the purpose of inspection, or monitoring, or;
e. There is a violation of provisions of these Sewer Use Rules and Regulations or applicable Federal or State regulations pertaining to the reporting, discharging, treating, or pretreating of wastewater.
2. Any user notified of a suspension of its wastewater treatment service and/or the Discharge Permit shall immediately stop or eliminate the endangering discharge or otherwise correct the violation which prompted the suspension. In the event of a failure of a person to comply voluntarily to correct the violation, the Authority shall take such steps as deemed necessary, including immediate severance of the sewer connection, to prevent or minimize damage to the treatment works or endangerment to the health, safety or welfare of any individuals. The Authority shall reinstate the Discharge Permit and/or the wastewater treatment service upon proof of the elimination of the non-complying discharge and payment of all costs, fines, and penalties which may be imposed by the Authority .A detailed written statement submitted by the user describing the causes of the harmful discharge and the measures taken to prevent any future occurrence shall be submitted to the Authority for approval within 15 days of the date of occurrence.
3. Authority may order the immediate cessation of the contribution to the POTW of pollutants by a User, upon verbal notification to the User by the Authority, where the Authority has determined that the actual or threatened contribution of such pollutants reasonably appears to present an imminent endangerment to the health or welfare of persons. A verbal notification under this section shall be confirmed within five (5) days with a written order to cease such pollutant contribution. Such orders shall take effect immediately upon verbal notification of the User and shall not be contingent upon receipt by the User of written confirmation. Authority may seek a temporary restraining order from a court of competent jurisdiction to enforce such an order to cease discharging. Such restraining order shall be requested in compliance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania regarding proper process and procedure for ex parte actions.
4. A person Appealing a civil administrative penalty or assessment levied in accordance with Section 14.03(3), whether contested as a contested case or by Appeal to a Court of competent jurisdiction, shall, as a condition of filing the Appeal, post with the Authority a refundable Bond or other security approved by the Authority, in the amount of the civil administrative penalty or assessment levied pursuant to a Civil Administrative Hearing. If a civil administrative penalty or assessment is upheld in whole or in part, the Authority shall be entitled to a daily interest charge on the amount of the Judgment amount from the date of the posting of the security with the Authority until that amount is paid in full. The rate of interest shall be that established by the State Supreme Court for interest rates on Judgments as set forth in the Rules Governing the Courts of the State of Pennsylvania. The person who is assessed a civil administrative penalty and fails to contest or pay the penalty or assessment, or fails to enter into a payment schedule with the Authority within thirty (30) days of the date that the penalty or assessment is due and owing, shall be subject to an interest charge on the amount of the penalty or assessment from the date that the amount was due and owing. The rate of interest shall be that authorized as set forth above. A civil administrative penalty or assessment imposed pursuant to a final Order (a) may be collected or enforced by summary proceeding in a Court of competent jurisdiction or (b) shall constitute a debt of the violator, and the civil administrative penalty may be docketed with the clerk of the Superior Court, and shall have the same standing as any Judgment docketed.
Section 14.10: Additional Enforcement Remedies
1. In addition to other remedies for enforcement provided herein, Authority may request the district attorney of the appropriate jurisdiction or other appropriate official of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the EP A, to exercise such methods or remedies as shall be available to such government entities to seek criminal or civil penalties, injunctive relief, or such other remedies as may be provided by applicable federal or state laws or regulations to ensure compliance by Users with applicable pretreatment standards, to prevent the introduction of toxic pollutants or other regulated pollutants into the POTW , or to prevent such other water pollution as may be regulated by state or federal law .In matters involving major enforcement efforts or challenges of federal laws or regulations, Authority shall request the assistance of EPA.
Section 14.11: Remedies Nonexclusive
1. The remedies provided for in these regulations are not exclusive. The Authority may take any, all, or any combinations of these actions against a noncompliant User. The Authority may take any civil or equitable action or any action at law, available to Authority under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, whether or not herein specified, to enforce these regulations.
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