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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, April 4, 2014

Contact:

ccoley@charlottenc.gov for CMUD/Charlotte wastewater plant info
jwallin@cmpd.org for CMPD and Task Force investigating illegal dumping into wastewater treatment collection systems/treatment plants

*Anyone with information on these cases of illegal sewer system dumping should contact the Crimestoppers Hotline at 704-334-1600.

*Anyone observing suspicious activity involving the water or sewer system should report it immediately by calling 911. 

 

CMPD offers $10,000 reward for PCB dumping information

 

Illegal PCB dumping may also have occurred at McAlpine Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant


Charlotte, NC — Following the illegal dumping incidents at the Mallard Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in February, CMUD has continued intensive sampling and testing at the five wastewater plants.  Some, but not all, samples of biosolids produced at McAlpine Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant between September 2013 and February 2014 indicated very low levels of PCB. Samples from biosolids produced since February contained higher levels of PCB.  Concentrations and the specific types of PCB have varied, but CMUD concludes that at some time between November and early March, the McAlpine Creek plant did receive PCB contaminated wastewater. 

 

Fortunately, CMUD has observed that wastewater treatment plants can be very effective in removing PCB from the wastewater.  Sampling of the treated wastewater leaving the McAlpine Creek plant shows that PCB levels entering the stream have been below 0.7 ppb, far below the EPA guideline of 3.0 ppb.

 

The very low PCB concentration leaving the McAlpine Plant and the distance downstream to any drinking water intake indicates there was and is no increased risk of PCB contamination of any drinking water supply.  Drinking water in Charlotte and other water systems downstream of Charlotte was and is not affected by this incident.

 

The US EPA, NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources and SC Department of Health and Environmental Control have been notified about the findings at McAlpine while continuing to work with regulators on remediation plans at the Mallard Creek plant.  Based on recent experiences, EPA staff has asked CMUD staff to help to develop guidelines and action steps that could assist other utilities in the event of illegal dumping incidents. 

 

Biosolids with PCB concentrations less than 50 ppm can be disposed of in local landfills.  If concentrations are higher than 50 ppm, the material must be taken to a special type of landfill, the closest of which is in Alabama.  One batch of material containing about 1,000 cubic yards of biosolids has concentrations between 60 and 70 ppm.  Other batches of material have concentrations less than 50 ppm.  PCB contaminated biosolids at McAlpine are stored inside a very large, fully-enclosed building until they can be properly disposed.  

Work is on-going to determine the quantities of material from Mallard and McAlpine that will exceed the threshold for local disposal options and how much this will add to our disposal costs.  

 

McAlpine Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant is the largest plant in CMUD’s system with a treatment capacity of 64 million gallons per day.  The service area for this plant is extensive and ranges from the Town of Mint Hill to northwest Charlotte.  Treated effluent is discharged into McAlpine Creek which joins the Catawba River several miles downstream of Lake Wylie and the City of Rock Hill in South Carolina.

 

A multi-agency criminal Task Force led by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department continues following up on any and all leads, and asks anyone with information on these cases of illegal sewer system dumping to the Crimestoppers Hotline at 704-334-1600.  Police Chief Rodney Monroe has announced a $10,000 reward for information about the February illegal dumping incident. Anyone observing suspicious activity involving the water or sewer system should report it immediately by calling 911.

 

View complete updates here