LAS VEGAS (CN) — The city of North Las Vegas will pay $385,000 in fines and set up a federally approved wastewater treatment system to settle Clean Water Act violations.
The settlement requires North Las Vegas to develop and pay for an industrial pretreatment program to prevent contamination from industrial pollutants. The city also must pay fines of $192,500 to Nevada and to the United States.
The proposed consent decree dated Sept. 27 will be posted for 30 days for public comment before the federal court acts on it.
Acting U.S. Attorney Steven Myhre said that after the close of the comment period, the federal government will review the comments received and tell the court whether it wants the consent decree entered.
In a 15-page complaint filed Wednesday, the United States and Nevada accused North Las Vegas of violating the Clean Water Act and a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit by not properly treating wastewater discharged into Lake Mead.
The Clean Water Act authorizes the discharge of pollutants from point sources via a NPDES permit.
The permit requires municipalities to prevent discharges that disrupt the municipal wastewater treatment process, cause corrosion or toxic gases, or violate local limits.
Department of Justice Deputy Chief Ellen Mahan said North Las Vegas has owned and operated a wastewater treatment plant and a separate sanitary sewer-collection and transmission system since 2011.
Before 2011, North Las Vegas simply routed its wastewater through the Las Vegas treatment facility, Mahan said.
Now it routes its wastewater through two outfall channels running about 12 miles through the Las Vegas wash underneath Lake Las Vegas, via two pipes, and discharges it into Las Vegas Bay on the western edge of Lake Mead.
But the city never filed a copy of its pretreatment program for approval by the Environmental Protection Agency, Mahan said.
The city did not identify or locate all potential industrial users, develop local limits to prevent unlawful discharges and take other required steps to comply with the Clean Water Act and NPDES permit requirements.
The consent decree seeks to remedy those violations and ensure the wastewater North Las Vegas discharges into Lake Mead complies with the Clean Water Act.