Imperial Irrigation District fined for Safe Drinking Water Act Violations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced they reached a settlement with the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) for alleged violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) at its El Centro Generating Station site in El Centro, California. According to the settlement, IID will pay a $67,110 penalty and make facility improvements to ensure it complies with underground injection control program requirements.

“Facilities that include underground injection in their process must ensure compliance with permit conditions in order to protect underground sources of drinking water,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “EPA’s Underground Injection Control Program regulations help ensure these vital sources are preserved and violators of this program are subject to significant penalties.”

The El Centro Generating Station operates two Class I Non-Hazardous injection wells which are permitted according to EPA’s Underground Injection Control Program regulations for the disposal of facility process wastewater. EPA performed a virtual inspection of the site in December 2020 and found that the wells were out of compliance with three permit conditions: failure to maintain required pressure; failure to report pressure drops to EPA; and failure to provide continuous monitoring data.

In addition to the penalty, IID will take the following steps:

  1. Submit an inventory of all devices or gauges used at the El Centro Generating Station
  2. Calibrate or replace monitoring equipment which has not been calibrated or replaced in more than 12 months
  3. Identify and repair any outstanding deficiencies at the facility

Read the proposed settlement public notice here.

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