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City, operator charged with violating CWA

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The City of Madison and a wastewater treatment plant operator have been charged with negligently violating the Clean Water Act.

The U.S. Attorney Office filed charges Nov. 3 against the City of Madison and David W. Hawkins regarding a June 2007 incident. Hawkins, superintendent of the city's wastewater treatment plant, contacted the Indiana Department of Environmental Management in June 2007 for assistance when the wastewater plant began experiencing significant problems. IDEM officials said the biologic organisms weren't providing treatment and Hawkins should immediately remove 90,000 gallons of water into a separate tank in order to reseed the treatment system with live biologic organisms.

Instead, Hawkins left for the weekend without taking any actions. Partially treated and untreated waste and sewage got into the Ohio River June 8-10, 2007, according to the charging information filed in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana.

Hawkins faces up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. Madison faces a term of five years probation and up to a $150,000 fine. A hearing hasn't been set.

Also filed Tuesday in the New Albany Division were guilty plea agreements from Hawkins and Madison. As part of his agreement, Hawkins will surrender his Class III wastewater treatment operator license. The agreements are currently before the court for review.

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