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DEP Reinstates Water Company Fine

The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has fined the Milford Water Company $10,000 for the privately owned utility's problems between last October and February 23 with its chemical corrosion control treatment to reduce lead and copper levels. The fine is not new, but a reinstatement of a penalty that was suspended by the DEP following the August, 2009 "boil water" incident.

"It is important to note that MWC has already addressed the issues from the chem[ical] line feeding pH adjustment back in March, when we notified our customers of the issue," said Manager David Condrey.

The DEP's June 20 notification to the Milford Water Company calling for the payment notes that the November 13, 2009 Administrative Consent Order (ACO) between the state agency and the company called for the suspended $10,000 penalty to be paid if the company violated DEP regulations within one year of the agreement. The company violated four of the state's Drinking Water Regulations involving the corrosion control treatment not being operational as well as various notification procedures, the DEP said.

"Obviously, we are not at all pleased about the penalty. DEP is in their right to do so according to the original ACO from 2009," Condrey said. "This is just the final result that is coming down from the DEP. All corrective actions have been taken at this point. Again, it just a matter of the process time needed by the DEP."

The issue about the corrosion control treatment – which resulted in customers complaining about stained plumbing fixtures – came to be discussed at the At the Board of Selectmen's June 6 meeting. Selectman William Buckley noted the DEP had conducted a "Sanitary Survey" of the Milford Water Company last October 27, yet did not provide a copy of its findings to both the water company and the town until May 1. The DEP report listed nine items that needed corrective action – seven by June 30, one by October 15 and one by December 1 – including the pH control problem the water company already dealt with earlier this year.

At Buckley's request, selectmen agreed to ask the DEP to explain the reason for the delay from the actual inspection date last year until the date this year when the inspection was documented. Then, at board's June 20 meeting, selectmen reviewed a response from the DEP which stated that water company officials were aware of the corrosion control problems during last October's inspection, but that the repairs were more complicated than expected and not completed until this past February.

"It's inconsistent with some of the information we received here," Buckley said of the DEP's response. "I think it's appropriate that the Board of Selectmen stay on top of it."


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