Van Hollen settles wastewater suit

Nick Rees Feb. 9, 2010, 6:00pm

Van Hollen

MADISON, Wis. (Legal Newsline) - A civil case brought by Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen against the village of Clyman for various water pollution control violations has been resolved.

The suit came as a result of an investigation into the village's water pollution control violations by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, which asked the Wisconsin Department of Justice to prosecute the matter.

The complaint alleges that, despite knowing that its wastewater collection and conveyance system was badly deteriorated and leaking due to age a neglect, the village failed to make repairs necessary for proper operation. The complaint specifically cites an 8,000-foot-long buried force main sewer that leads to several treatment lagoons.

That force main sewer was allegedly prone to breakages that resulted in the sudden discharge of large quantities of untreated sewage onto the surface of private lands and into adjacent waters.

The complaint also alleges that regulatory limits on the strength of pollutants discharged into an unnamed Dead Creek tributary, which is itself a Lake Sinissippi tributary, for the village's treatment system were often exceeded.

The settlement agreement, which has been approved by Dodge County Circuit Court Judge Brian Pfitzinger, calls for the village to complete construction on a new $3 million wastewater treatment plant, which will be served by a new force main sewer, by July 1, 2011.

The village's existing wastewater treatment lagoons must then be properly abandoned and not used once the new plant becomes operational.

The settlement also calls for the implementation of a DNR-approved, 10 year program of repairs and improvements to the village's sewage collection system and a moratorium on new sanitary sewer extensions and connections until the new wastewater treatment plant becomes operational. Additionally, costs and fees totaling $5,000 are also called for by the settlement.

"To its credit, during economic conditions that are difficult for all our municipalities, the village of Clyman has committed to take those steps necessary to fund infrastructure repairs and improvements to eliminate the pollution problems its failing wastewater treatment system had created," Van Hollen said.

"The Wisconsin Department of Justice will continue to work with DNR to ensure that these law are followed."

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