Pollution Update 6-16-16

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) fined Junction City $1,000 last week for discharging elevated levels of ammonia to Flat Creek from its wastewater treatment plant in December, January, February and April. The city’s discharges take place pursuant to an expired Clean Water Act permit issued by DEQ in 2007. The permit expired in June of 2011, and includes a monthly average ammonia limit of 1.6 milligrams per liter; however, DEQ entered into an agreement with Junction City in 2013 under which DEQ will fine the city only when monthly ammonia discharges exceed 6.0 milligrams per liter (i.e., DEQ has essentially agreed to ignore violations unless the amount of ammonia discharged is almost four times what the city’s Clean Water Act permit requires). The agreement between DEQ and the city does not protect the city from a third party Clean Water Act citizen suit.