EPA Orders to Safeguard LA Wash from Pollution

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued an order to the City of North Las Vegas to take immediate steps to address federal Clean Water Act violations 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued an order to the City of North Las Vegas to take immediate steps to address federal Clean Water Act violations. Deficiencies in the management of its wastewater pretreatment program have the potential to lead to discharges of polluted water from the city’s Water Reclamation Facility into the Las Vegas Wash, which eventually feeds into Lake Mead.

EPA requires cities to develop a program to regulate pollutants coming from industrial users of the municipal wastewater treatment systems that may contaminate sewage sludge or interfere with the treatment. This action is a result of EPA’s September 2014 inspection to determine the city’s compliance with the requirements in its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit and the General Pretreatment Regulations.

“Despite a tight budget, the city will be making a necessary and wise investment by bringing its wastewater pretreatment program into compliance with federal standards,’ said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Additional resources will help ensure that the city’s wastewater infrastructure will be better protected from industrial pollution.’

In 2011, the City completed construction of a new wastewater treatment facility on Betty Lane in North Las Vegas, Nev., but failed to develop and seek approval for its new pretreatment program. EPA found that the City of North Las Vegas did not evaluate its permitting process and ensure that it controls the contribution of each industrial user to the plant through current, unexpired permits. In addition, the city failed to allocate the proper resources and qualified personnel to adequately implement its pretreatment program.

The order requires a commitment of staffing and financial resources on behalf of the city to make improvements to its pretreatment program. Once implemented, it will be in compliance with EPA’s standards, which will prevent the introduction of pollutants that can cause environmental and public health concerns, and shorten the life of the infrastructure.

The order establishes federally enforceable timelines and requires the City of North Las Vegas to:

  • Correct permit errors by re-permitting significant industrial users of their system;
  • Audit and make corrections to its compliance program; and
  • Submit its program to EPA for approval under the Clean Water Act.

As authorized by the Clean Water Act, the NPDES permit program controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States.


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