Tennessee Riverkeeper, Inc. has filed a lawsuit under the Clean Water Act (CWA), against the City of Manchester for violations of the CWA and Manchester’s pollution discharge permit. 
 
The Manchester Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) has had 336 violations within the past five years and over 33,930,595 gallons of untreated sewage released into the environment.
 
“When raw sewage is discharged into surface water it carries with it bacteria and pathogens that can be a threat to public health. In a modern society, sewage pollution should be properly maintained, not discharged in our streets, creeks, and rivers,” stated David Whiteside, Founder of Tennessee Riverkeeper.
 
Waste Water Treatment Plant

Pictured is an overlook of the city’s wastewater treatment plant following a rehabilitation and expansion project in 2012. In the foreground is the new 550,000 gallon clarifier. 

Tennessee Riverkeeper’s lawsuit also charges violations of the Permit and the Clean Water Act due to for failure to impose a moratorium on new sewer connections upstream of any location that has experienced chronic overflows. Manchester has nine chronic overflow points, meaning more than five overflows occur at the same location in a year, including manholes near Fred Deadman Park and Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
 
“The Duck River is the water source for approximately 250,000 Tennesseans. It is a significant tributary of the Tennessee River, and one of the state’s most scenic places. The Duck River is one of the most biologically diverse waterways in the world,” added David Whiteside, Founder of Tennessee Riverkeeper.
 
The operational failures and discharges referenced above demonstrate a continuing pattern of pollution which degrades and threatens waters of the United States in violation of the Clean Water Act and state law. Tennessee Riverkeeper intends to prosecute these and similar or related violations in the appropriate judicial forum, including all violations which occur or continue after service of this notice and all violations revealed in the course of the litigation discovery process. 
 
Tennessee Riverkeeper filed notice of intent to sue the City of Manchester, Tennessee on March 10, 2020 in federal district court.
 
“I have not received any paperwork pertaining to a filed lawsuit by Riverkeepers. This organization has filed several lawsuits against small towns throughout Tennessee. If there is in fact a lawsuit against the City of Manchester we will turn that over to our Insurance. If the lawsuit is the same as the others filed against small towns it is not a monetary suit, but an injunction,” said Mayor Lonnie Norman.
 
MARK E. MARTIN Attorney at Law, LLC Post Office Box 1486 Oneonta, Alabama 35121 March 10, 2020 Phone: (205) 516-9350 mmartin@markemartin.com Hon. Lonnie Norman, Mayor 200 W. Fort St. Manchester, TN 37355 VIA CERTIFIED MAIL RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED RE: City of Manchester STP, NPDES Permit No: TN0025038 Manchester, Coffee County, Tennessee Dear Mayor Norman, Tennessee Riverkeeper, Inc. intends to file a lawsuit under section 505 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, also known as the Clean Water Act (“CWA”), 33 U.S.C. 1365(a)(1), against the City of Manchester, Tennessee, for violations of the CWA, the regulations thereunder, and the Tennessee Water Quality Control Act of 1977, as more fully referenced below, by Manchester STP located at Manchester, Coffee County, Tennessee. Tennessee Riverkeeper provides this written notice pursuant to section 135 of Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Manchester is in violation of sections 301 and 402 of the CWA (33 U.S.C. §§1311 and 1342) and sections 122.1 et sec of Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations. These laws require that no facility shall discharge pollutants to waters of the United States or waters of the state except as authorized by a permit issued pursuant to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). Manchester was issued NPDES permit number TN0025038 for Manchester STP, which authorizes the permit holder to discharge treated municipal wastewater from Outfall 001, into Duck River at miles 268.5, subject to stated discharge limitations and monitoring requirements. Duck River is a jurisdictional water of the United States. All discharges must be in accordance with the effluent limitations, monitoring requirements, and other conditions set forth in the Permit. Any permit noncompliance constitutes a violation of applicable state and federal laws and is grounds for enforcement action, permit termination, permit modification, or denial of permit reissuance. See, Permit §2.3.1. Manchester is in violation of provisions of the Permit by failure to operate its collection system so as to avoid overflows. The Permit specifically prohibits overflows and places a duty upon the permittee to avoid them. See, Permit §2.3.3. Each overflow is a separate violation of the Permit and the Clean Water Act. Overflows in violation of the Permit have been reported to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (“TDEC”) on at least the occasions shown in Appendix A. This list shows three hundred thirtyCase 4:20-cv-00034 Document 1-1 Filed 07/09/20 Page 2 of 19 PageID #: 29 March 10, 2020 Tennessee Riverkeeper, Inc. City of Manchester, Tennessee Page 2 ____________________ six (336) violations within the past five years and over thirty-three million nine hundred thirty thousand five hundred ninety-five (33,930,595) gallons of untreated sewage released into the environment. In addition, EPA records show thirty (30) sanitary sewer overflows (SSO) in January, 2020 and twenty-six (26) SSOs in February 2020. Manchester is required by Section 2.3.3.c. of the Permit to impose a moratorium on new sewer connections upstream of any location that has experienced chronic overflows. Chronic overflows are defined as five or more overflow events in a year. Manchester has violated its Permit by experiencing chronic overflows without imposing a moratorium on new connections on at least the following points, as more fully set out in Appendix B: Manhole A-36, Johnny Brown, has incurred Twenty-three (23) overflow violations between March 11, 2015 and December 29, 2019. Chronic overflows, defined as five overflows at the same point within a year, have occurred at numerous times during this period and the public record shows no instance of any moratorium being issued or of the requirement being lifted by TDEC. In the twelve months prior to December 29, 2019 there were twenty-three (23) overflows at this lift station, more than enough to require the issuance of a moratorium. Manhole A-37, Johnny Brown, has incurred twelve (12) overflows from December 25, 2015 to December 16, 2019. During the twelve months prior to December 16, 2019 there were five overflows and a moratorium should have been imposed. Manhole A-41 105, Moore St, incurred nineteen (19) overflows from November 18, 2015 to December 23, 2019. During the twelve months prior to December 23, 2019 there were twelve (12) overflows and a moratorium should have been imposed. Manhole A-45, Spring St, incurred fourteen overflows from March 11, 2015 to April 8, 2019. During the twelve months prior to April 8, 2019 there were five (5) overflows and a moratorium should have been imposed. Manhole B-43, Fred Deadman Park, incurred twenty-seven (27) overflows from March 11, 2015 to April 8, 2019. During the twelve months prior to April 8, 2019 there were seven (7) overflows and a moratorium should have been imposed. Manhole E-10, McMinnville Hwy, incurred five (5) overflows during the twelve months prior to December 10, 2019 and a moratorium should have been imposed. Manhole E-42, Timbercrest, incurred eighteen (18) overflows from March 11, 2015 to December 29, 2019. During the twelve months prior to December 29, 2019 there were ten (10) overflows and a moratorium should have been imposed. Case 4:20-cv-00034 Document 1-1 Filed 07/09/20 Page 3 of 19 PageID #: 30 March 10, 2020 Tennessee Riverkeeper, Inc. City of Manchester, Tennessee Page 3 ____________________ Manhole G-11, Cumberland Presbyterian Church, incurred twenty (20) overflows from November 29, 2015 to December 20, 2019. During the twelve months prior to December 14, 2018 there were twelve (12) overflows and a moratorium should have been imposed. Manhole G-74, McAurthur, incurred nine (9) overflows from September 26, 2018 to December 23, 2019. During the twelve months prior to December 23, 2019 there were eight (8) overflows and a moratorium should have been imposed. Manhole I-141, Skinner Flatt, incurred sixty-three (63) overflows from June 1, 2015 to December 29, 2019. During the twelve months prior to December 29, 2019 there were fifteen (15) overflows and a moratorium should have been imposed. Manhole I-89, Ester Lane, incurred nine (9) overflows from April 20, 2015 to January 23, 2019. During the twelve months prior to January 23, 2019 there were five (5) overflows and a moratorium should have been imposed. The above demonstrates eleven (11) points where a moratorium was triggered but no moratorium was imposed. This amounts to eleven violations of the permit, the CWA and the Tennessee WQCA. The operational failures and discharges referenced above demonstrate a continuing pattern of pollution at the Manchester STP which degrades and threatens waters of the United States in violation of the CWA and state law. Tennessee Riverkeeper intends to prosecute these and similar or related violations in the appropriate judicial forum, including all violations which occur or continue after service of this notice and all violations revealed during the litigation discovery process. Tennessee Riverkeeper intends to file suit against the City of Manchester, in federal district court sixty (60) days from the date of this notice. Tennessee Riverkeeper will request, among other things, a judgment declaring the discharges and violations described or listed herein to be illegal. Tennessee Riverkeeper will also seek an injunction prohibiting Manchester from discharging pollutants and from operating in violation of the CWA and state law. Additionally, Tennessee Riverkeeper will seek the imposition of civil penalties, as provided by 33 USC § 1319(d) and 40 CFR 19. The person giving notice is Tennessee Riverkeeper, Inc., P.O. Box 2594, Decatur, AL 35602. The attorneys for Tennessee Riverkeeper in this matter, to whom all correspondence should be directed, are Mark E. Martin, Post Office Box 1486, Oneonta, Alabama 35121, telephone (205) 516-9350 and Elizabeth A. Alexander, 4235 Hillsboro Pike, Suite 300, Nashville, TN 37215, telephone (415) 860-4020. Tennessee Riverkeeper is prepared to discuss the issues raised in this letter at any time. Thank you for your attention to this matter. Case 4:20-cv-00034 Document 1-1 Filed 07/09/20 Page 4 of 19 PageID #: 31 March 10, 2020 Tennessee Riverkeeper, Inc. City of Manchester, Tennessee Page 4 ____________________ Sincerely, Mark E. Martin cc: Andrew Wheeler, Administrator US Environmental Protection Agency Headquarters 1101 A William Jefferson Clinton Building 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20460 Mary Walker, Regional Administrator United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 Atlanta Federal Center 61 Forsyth Street, SW Atlanta, GA 30303-3104 David W. Salyers, P.E., Commissioner Tennessee Dept. of Environment and Conservation 2nd Floor, Tennessee Tower 312 Rosa L. Parks Ave Nashville, TN 37243 Citizen Suit Coordinator U.S. Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division Law and Policy Section P.O. Box 7415 Ben Franklin Station Washington, DC 20044-7415