marlowe towne center waste water treatment facility
The Marlowe Towne Center Waste Water Treatment Facility, part of the Berkeley County Public Service Sewer District of Martinsburg, WV, has been discharging pollutants, including fecal coliform, zinc and sediment into the Falling Waters area of the Potomac River. The facility was initially identified as a facility of interest in Potomac Riverkeeper Network’s 2014 Compliance Sweep program conducted in the Upper Potomac, which reviewed 291 Clean Water Act permits and found Marlowe Towne Center, among others, had committed severe violations of State and Federal water quality standards, resulting in discharges of pollutants in amounts that violate federal law and harm the environment.
Status Update: On August 1, 2015, the Upper Potomac Riverkeeper filed a Clean Water Act (CWA) complaint against the Berkeley County Public Service Sewer District (Sewer District) in the Federal District court of Martinsburg, WV, for repeated violations of the water pollution control permit. Read our press release. In January 2017, we entered a settlement agreement whereby the Sewer District will hire a compliance officer and pay a $40,000 penalty. Read more here.
Upper Potomac River Commission (UPRC) Wastewater Treatment Facility
UPRC operates under permits which allow for discharges that exceed normal TMDL's (a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a waterbody can receive and still meet water quality standards) through the use of "mixing zones". UPRC's mixing zones emit discharges directly into a section of the river commonly used for cold water fishing with heavy amounts of nitrogen, at average temperatures of 100 degrees.
Status Update: We are in the proccess of appealing the UPRC permit that allows the activity of "mixing zones" and high levels of nitrogen pollution.
west virginia's weak discharge standards into maryland owned potomac river:
Facilities in West Virginia that discharge pollution into the [Maryland-owned] Potomac River often follow much weaker standards than their Maryland counterpart. For example, many permits do not require daily monitoring for TMDLS's (total maximum discharge limits), allowing much higher amounts of pollutants to enter the water as would otherwise be considered a violation of water quality standards. In our effort to strengthen discharge programs in West Virginia to sufficiently protect our river, we have appealed permits at two facilities—the Naval Sea Command Center & the National Conference Training Center (NCTC)—which currently violate the federal Clean Water Act.
Status Update: West Virginia has yet to improve permits or require daily monitoring of discharges into the Potomac.