On this and the following pages we are building a data base on the wastewater treatment plants of the upper Taunton River and its tributaries. Our experience with the Brockton plant has demonstrated that despite what appear to be strict regulations and oversight by EPA and MA DEP a lot of dirty water is leaking through the cracks, and in some cases pouring through gaping holes in our regulatory system.
Currently and in the past there has been little oversight of these permits within our watershed by citizens and citizen groups. Now more than ever those of us concerned with the health of our rivers must become involved in the permitting process. The boom in development over the past several years has put great strain upon our water resources. It is evident in many of our streams which suffer from low flows in the summer months. It is evident in the demands being put upon our wastewater treatment plants to expand and discharge more pollutants into our rivers.
Summary of why public participation is vital to the NPDES process..... HERE
Municipalities and Wastewater Treatment Plants
Municipal wastewater treatment plants (wwtp) operate under a licensing system called the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). In Massachusetts the NPDES permits are issued jointly by EPA and Ma DEP. The purpose of these permits is to ensure that a discharge into a waterbody does not cause that water body to drop below its minimum water quality standard. In Massachusetts we abide by water quality based effluent limits as opposed to technology-based effluent limits.
Detailed overview of NPDES permitting.......... HERE
Water Quality-Based Limits
Permit writers must consider the potential impact of every proposed surface water discharge on the quality of the receiving water. A permit writer may find that technology-based effluent limits are not sufficient to ensure that water quality standards, designed to protect the water quality, will be attained in the receiving water. In such cases, the CWA (section 303(b)(1)(c)) and NPDES regulations (40 CFR 122.44(d)) require that the permit writer develop more stringent, water quality-based effluent limits designed to ensure that water quality standards are attained.
Massachusetts Water Quality Standards & Their Role in The Process.......HERE
Why are Water Quality-Based Limit an important part of NPDES.............HERE
What is 7Q10 flow and why is it so important......HERE
Below are links to WWTP's in the upper Taunton River Watershed.
Town of Bridgewater WWTP.......HERE
Town of Middleboro WWTP........ HERE
City of Taunton WWTP................ HERE
City of Brockton WWTP...............HERE
Below is a link to a copy of a report by the American Public Health Association from 1928. It is about an action taken by farmers in West Bridgewater against Brockton at the turn of the last century. Then, the city sewer plant discharged to the Cowesset Brook and on to the Hockomock River where it fouled the farmers meadows along the stream. It is interesting to note in the conclusions of this report that we have yet to embrace this simple advice. The streams have changed but the problem remains. Dilution is the solution to pollution. When there is little or no dilution there will be pollution and our Water Quality Standards will not be met.