U.S. Water News Online
RENO, Nev. -- A Nevada developer previously fined $76,800
for violating the Clean Water Act with polluted storm water at a
housing subdivision near Gardnerville in 2005 has been fined another
$43,000 for violating the Safe Drinking Water Act.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the latest fine
against PTP Inc. of Minden for violating a permit at the 240-home
Pineview Estates by failing to protect groundwater aquifers that are
potential drinking water sources.
EPA officials said they inspected the development 6 miles south of
Gardnerville several times between 2003 and 2007, and discovered
wastewater effluent surfacing in the drain field and other conditions
in violation of PTP's permit.
The collection of minimally treated human wastewater collecting on
the surface of the field posed a threat to public health when it was
discovered, but the developer has largely corrected the problem, EPA
"The EPA's permit for this development was designed to protect
underground sources of drinking water and public health within the
community," Alexis Strauss, Water Division director for the EPA's
Pacific Southwest region in San Francisco, said in a statement.
"PTP must comply with all permit terms and conditions to ensure
the protection of water resources in this area," she said.
The developer was fined $76,800 in 2005 for allowing polluted
storm water to drain off the same housing subdivision and into the
East Fork of the Carson River. EPA inspectors determined at that time
that PTP had been discharging polluted storm water into the nearby
river without a permit since 1999.
Strauss said PTP is working closely with the EPA to come into
compliance with all permit requirements. The 63-acre site is now in
its final phase of development.
David Albright, manager of the EPA's regional groundwater office,
said the drain fields targeted in the latest fine are part of an
onsite wastewater treatment system typically used in rural areas
where there is no formal wastewater treatment facility.
They are used by piping wastewater into a field where it filters
down through the soil and other materials so it is largely treated
before it reaches an aquifer, he said.
"The effluent coming out of the pipe that was supposed to drain
down through the soil was ponding on the surface," Albright said.
"It's basically minimally treated human wastewater so it could
have pathogens in it. We'd be concerned about people walking in it,
pets getting into it and tracking it back into homes," he told The
"As a public health matter, it is an indication the system is not
At this point, PTP has "pretty much come into compliance,"
"They are working closely with us and have made the changes to the
system we asked them to. We are pretty much at the end of the
process," he said.
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