Categories
News Tyrone Daily Herald Archives

Tyrone Borough pays fines for fish kill incident

In a press release early yesterday afternoon issued by the Little Juniata River Association, LJRA President Bill Anderson stated that the responsible party of a fish kill last February 21 at the mouth of the Tyrone Water Treatment Plant outflow was determined.
A total of 243 fish were discovered dead in the Little Juniata, according to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC).
Effective with an agreement signed by Tyrone Borough officials on January 23, 2008, the borough’s water treatment plant “had an unpermitted discharge of an unknown substance or condition into the Little Juniata River which caused a number of fish (including a number of brown trout) to die.”
As a result of the Consent Assessment and Settlement Agreement (CASA) between the borough and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the borough has been ordered to pay fines of $6,475 to the DEP and an additional fine for civil damages of $2,514 to the PFBC.
DEP spokesman John Repetz elaborated that the borough was accessed a civil penalty for the unpermitted discharge from the treatment plant, which is a violation of “The Clean Streams Law.”
The fine payment for The Clean Streams Law violation was made payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Clean Water Fund. The PA Fish and Boat Commission’s accessed fine was made payable to the PFBC.
“The borough informed DEP that the problem was caused by an equipment malfunction, and that problem has been corrected,” stated Repetz.
Borough Manager Sharon Dannaway said that the fine was something the borough had to pay and it was paid in January. She knew the borough was expecting a fine, even though they never knew what caused the fish kill.
“We knew we would be fined because it was at the mouth of the outflow of the treatment plant,” added Dannaway.
Sewer Superintendent Tim Nulton continued by saying that what went through the plant was never identified, and it was proved it wasn’t caused within the plant by personnel at the facility.
“Something did come through the plant, but it wasn’t caused by us,” said Nulton.
In past years there have been several significant fish kills on the Little Juniata River. A major kill of the entire food chain, traced to approximately the area of the Tyrone Water Treatment Plant outflow, occurred in 1996.
Anderson stated in the press release that through the diligence of the PFBC, DEP and the Little Juniata River Association, they received an answer to the fish kill last February.
“Although the fine is minimal and came as the result of signing a Consent Assessment and Settlement Agreement, maybe closer attention, better maintenance and more robust systems in all three upstream water treatment plants will result,” said Anderson.
He added, “Hopefully the full implementation of improvement required for compliance with new water pollution requirements will help prevent future events such as this.”
To view the press release, visit the Little Juniata River Association website at www.littlejuniata.org.