BOSTON MA (9/11/2018) – The City of Manchester, N.H., will install equipment to limit the amount of mercury pollution emitted from a city-owned incinerator under an agreement between the city, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice. The city estimates it will spend more than $6 million to comply with the terms of this settlement, which includes installing and operating pollution control equipment at the incinerator.
“This agreement means cleaner air for communities in Manchester and improves the city’s compliance with important clean air laws,” said EPA New England Regional Administrator Alexandra Dunn. “EPA is committed to working with cities like Manchester to reduce air pollution from sewage sludge incinerators in order to protect public health.”
The consent decree lodged in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire, provides a July 11, 2019 deadline, for the facility to commence operation of a mercury control system, and requires that the facility meet all other related Clean Air Act regulations by January 12, 2020. In the interim, Manchester will take measures to limit the mercury content of sewage sludge received at the incinerator. The facility will also pay a civil penalty of $131,800.
The City of Manchester sewage sludge incinerator processes sewage waste from Manchester and three neighboring communities. Incineration of sewage sludge results in emissions of various pollutants, including mercury, dioxins and furans, cadmium, lead, and carbon monoxide.
Under federal Clean Air Act rules that became effective in 2016, owners of sewage sludge incinerators must meet stringent emissions standards for 10 pollutants, must test their emissions, and must institute procedures to limit emissions. The Manchester facility failed to meet the compliance deadline for mercury emissions and for various other requirements of the rules. The City of Manchester worked with EPA on the compliance plan and schedule, set forth in the proposed consent decree, which are designed to ensure it complies with the emissions standards for all 10 pollutants.
The Consent Decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire on September 11, 2018, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court. It will be available on the Justice Department website at www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.
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