State of Vermont
Agency of Natural Resources
Department of Environmental Conservation
Compliance & Enforcement Division
Press Release

April 11, 2003
Town of Bethel

WATERBURY- Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Elizabeth McLain today announced that the Enforcement Division has formally settled environmental violations that occurred at the Town of Bethel's wastewater treatment facility. In the settlement, the Town of Bethel admits that it failed to properly maintain and staff its wastewater facility. Additionally, the town admits that they violated their discharge permit and the state's water quality standards by discharging untreated and partially treated effluent into the White River. The Town has agreed to pay $20,000 to fund supplemental environmental projects.

The matter came to light as a result of an anonymous citizen complaint about the odor of raw sewage near the treatment facility during the summer of 2000. Environmental Enforcement Officers Sean McVeigh and Kathryn Patch's investigation determined that Bethel's wastewater treatment facility was discharging untreated and partially treated effluent into the White River. As a result of the health risks posed by the ongoing discharges, the Agency and the Health Department closed 20 miles of the White River to recreation (from Bethel to the Connecticut River) from early July into September, 2000.

The settlement was reduced to an assurance of discontinuance and was so ordered by the Environmental Court on April 8, 2003. In it, the Town of Bethel agreed to fund supplemental environmental projects amounting to $20,000.

Involved Program: Wastewater Management Division of the Department of Environmental Conservation

Environmental Enforcement Officers: Sean McVeigh and Kathryn Patch

For Further Information please contact:
Attorney Gary Kessler at 802-241-3820 or email to gary.kessler@state.vt.us