By Neal Simpson | April 10, 2018
BOSTON — The company that manages Plymouth’s water-treatment plant has agreed to pay $1.6 million to settle allegations that it allowed thousands of gallons of contaminated wastewater to spill into the Plymouth Harbor and millions mores gallons of raw sewage to flood parts of the town.
Veolia Water North America-Northeast will pay $1.35 million in civil penalties and another $250 to a state environmental trust fund under a consent judgment in Suffolk Superior Court. The judgment settles a lawsuit filed by the office of Attorney General Maura Healey in April 2016.
John Lamontagne, a spokesman for Veolia, said in a statement that the company was pleased it had resolved the attorney general’s allegations, but blamed the spills on the town of Plymouth, with which it is still engaged in ongoing litigation. Lamontagne said the spills were the result of a “poorly designed” 4½-mile main between Plymouth Harbor and the wastewater plant that the town had chosen and later ignored warnings about.
“We have worked diligently and cooperatively with the Town for many months to address the wastewater system’s issues concerning environmental compliance,” he said. “We continue to serve as the operator of the Town’s wastewater plant and remain committed to providing the Town with outstanding service.”
The attorney general’s office had accused Veolia of failing to maintain pipes that carry wastewater from homes and businesses to Plymouth’s wastewater treatment plant, leading to the corrosion of a main that in December 2015 and January 2016 spilled more than 10 million gallons of raw sewage, some of it in wooded areas and state-owned land.
The office said Veolia had also previously spilled hundreds of thousands of gallons of untreated or improperly treated wastewater into Plymouth Harbor, which forced officials to temporarily close shellfish beds in Kingston and Duxbury bays because of high fecal coliform levels.
Assistant town manager Marlene McCollem said in a statement Tuesday the town was pleased that Veolia had agreed to make the payment and “looks forward to achieving a just result for the residents of Plymouth” through its lawsuit with the company.
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