EIP Launches Citizen Suit Enforcement Against Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission for Clean Water Act Violations at Bellefonte Fish Hatchery

October 17, 2013

According to the Notice of Intent to Sue (NOI), frequent discharges and treatment bypasses of pollutants from the Bellefonte State Fish Hatchery into Spring Creek – a tributary of the Susquehanna River that ultimately flows into the Chesapeake Bay – are not in compliance with the Clean Water Act.  The NOI alleges discharges of nitrogen, as well as other pollutants, above permit limits.  Nitrogen stimulates algae growth and reduces oxygen levels in water that is needed to support fish and other aquatic life.

The NOI was issued to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC), which operates Bellefonte.  Attorneys from the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), and Costopoulos, Foster & Fields, representing PennEnvironment, announced the filing of this Notice of Intent to sue the PFBC this morning.

PFBC has exceeded its permit limits for CBOD5 (Carbonaceous Biochemical Oxygen Demand), Ammonia Nitrogen (NH3–N), and total suspended solids, and has periodically bypassed its micro-filter wastewater treatment system.  At the same time, the facility has been operating under an expired—but administratively extended—pollution permit known as a NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination) permit, for a number of years

EIP and PennEnvironment hope that their action will prompt the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to issue a renewed permit to Bellefonte with more protective pollution limits and provide the funding support needed to assure the fishery complies with those permit terms.

For the press release, click here.

For the Notice of Intent, click here.