BOSTON (CBS) – The U.S. government is suing the city of Quincy for allegedly illegally dumping sewage and untreated wastewater into Boston Harbor, Dorchester Bay and Quincy Bay for years.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, water testing showed Quincy put pollutants, including E. coli, ammonia and pharmaceuticals, into the water from 2009-2018, violating the Clean Water Act.
The complaint also alleges that Quincy’s sanitary sewer system overflowed on numerous occasions, resulting in the discharge of sewage and untreated wastewater.
However, Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch said he thinks the lawsuit is out of line. “I will not on behalf of the city sign a consent decree to commit tens of millions of dollars going forward to some of these issues. I do not believe the EPA is being reasonable. I think it’s a federal government overreach,” he said in a Friday press conference.
“Rather than take the route that most other communities have and agree to a settlement with the EPA that takes away local infrastructure control, we are going to highlight all the work that has been done to dramatically improve water quality over the years,” the city said in a statement issued Friday afternoon.
“This complaint represents a critical step in the ongoing cleanup of Boston Harbor and nearby urban rivers,” said Deb Szaro, Acting Regional Administrator of EPA’s New England region. “EPA is committed to ensuring the restoration of Boston Harbor and addressing sewage discharges in local communities continues in order to protect public health and clean water.”
The Clean Water Act includes penalties of $37,500 per day for each violation before Nov. 2, 2015, and penalties of $54,833 for violations after that date.