SECTION 98-13 [ENFORCEMENT REMEDIES]

(A) Administrative Enforcement Remedies

  1. Notification of Violation - When a user has violated, or continues to violate, any provision of this ordinance, a wastewater discharge permit or order issued hereunder, or any other pretreatment standard or requirement, the Manager may serve upon that user a written Notice of Violation. Within five (5) days of the receipt of this notice, an explanation of the violation and a plan for the satisfactory correction and prevention thereof, to include specific required actions, shall be submitted by the user to the Manager. Submission of this plan in no way relieves the user of liability for any violations occurring before or after receipt of the Notice of Violation. Nothing in this section shall limit the authority of the Manager to take any action, including emergency actions or any other enforcement action, without first issuing a Notice of Violation.
  2. Increased Self-Monitoring - CCWA may order a user which has violated, or continues to violate, any provision of this ordinance, a wastewater discharge permit, or any other pretreatment standard or requirement, to increase the self-monitoring frequency for any or all parameters. The user will be responsible for all sampling, analyses, and reporting under an increased self-monitoring order.
  3. Consent Orders - CCWA may enter into Consent Orders, assurances of voluntary compliance, or other similar documents establishing an agreement with any user responsible for noncompliance. Such documents will include specific action to be taken by the user to correct the noncompliance within a time period specified by the document. Such documents shall have the same force and effect as the administrative orders issued pursuant to Sections 98-13 (A) (5 and 6) of this ordinance and shall be judicially enforceable.
  4. Show Cause Hearing - CCWA may order a user which has violated, or continues to violate, any provision of this ordinance, a wastewater discharge permit or order issued hereunder, or any other pretreatment standard or requirement, to appear before the Manager and show cause why the proposed enforcement action should not be taken. Notice shall be served on the user specifying the time and place for the meeting, the proposed enforcement action, the reasons for such action, and a request that the user show cause why the proposed enforcement action should not be taken. The notice of the meeting shall be served personally or by registered or certified mail (return receipt requested) at least twenty (20) days prior to the hearing. Such notice may be served on any authorized representative of the user. A show cause hearing shall not be a bar against, or prerequisite for, taking any other action against the user.
  5. Compliance Orders - When a user has violated, or continues to violate, any provision of this ordinance, a wastewater discharge permit or order issued hereunder, or any other pretreatment standard or requirement, CCWA may issue an order to the user responsible for the discharge directing that the user come into compliance within a specified time. If the user does not come into compliance within the time provided, sewer service may be discontinued unless adequate treatment facilities, devices, or other related appurtenances are installed and properly operated. Compliance orders also may contain other requirements to address the noncompliance, including additional self-monitoring and management practices designed to minimize the amount of pollutants discharged to the sewer. A compliance order may not extend the deadline for compliance established for a pretreatment standard or requirement, nor does a compliance order relieve the user of liability for any violation, including any continuing violation. Issuance of a compliance order shall not be a bar against, or a prerequisite for, taking any other action against the user.
  6. Cease and Desist Orders - When a user has violated, or continues to violate, any provision of this ordinance, a wastewater discharge permit or order issued hereunder, or any other pretreatment standard or requirement, or when the user's past violations are likely to recur, CCWA may issue an order to the user directing it to cease and desist all such violations and directing the user to:
    1. Immediately comply with all requirements; and
    2. Take such appropriate remedial or preventive action as may be needed to properly address a continuing or threatened violation, including halting operations and/or terminating the discharge.
    Issuance of a cease and desist order shall not be a bar against, or a prerequisite for, taking any other action against the user.
  7. Administrative Fines -
    1. When CCWA finds that a user has violated, or continues to violate, any provision of this ordinance, a wastewater discharge permit or order issued hereunder, or any other pretreatment standard or requirement, CCWA may fine such user in an amount not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000.00). Such fines shall be assessed on a per violation, per day basis. In the case of monthly or other long-term average discharge limits, fines shall be assessed for each day during the period of violation.
    2. Unpaid charges, fines, and penalties shall, after twenty (20) calendar days, be assessed an additional penalty of ten percent (10%) of the unpaid balance, and interest shall accrue thereafter at the rate allowed by law, not to exceed a rate of eighteen percent (18%) per annum. A lien against the user's property will be sought for unpaid charges, fines, and penalties.
    3. Users desiring to dispute such fines must file a written request for CCWA to reconsider the fine along with full payment of the fine amount within thirty (30) days of being notified of the fine. Where a request has merit, CCWA may convene a hearing on the matter. In the event the user's appeal is successful, the payment, together with any interest accruing thereto, shall be returned to the user. CCWA may add the costs of preparing administrative enforcement actions, such as notices and orders, to the fine.
    4. Issuance of an administrative fine shall not be a bar against, or a prerequisite for, taking any other action against the user.
  8. Emergency Suspensions - CCWA may immediately suspend a user's discharge, after informal notice to the user, whenever such suspension is necessary to stop an actual or threatened discharge which reasonably appears to present or cause an imminent or substantial endangerment to the health or welfare of persons. CCWA may also immediately suspend a user's discharge, after notice and opportunity to respond, that threatens to interfere with the operation of the POTW, or which presents, or may present, an endangerment to the environment.
    1. Any user notified of a suspension of its discharge shall immediately stop or eliminate its contribution. In the event of a user's failure to immediately comply voluntarily with the suspension order, CCWA may take such steps as deemed necessary, including immediate severance of the sewer connection, to prevent or minimize damage to the POTW, its receiving stream, or endangerment to any individuals. CCWA may allow the user to recommence its discharge when the user has demonstrated that the period of endangerment has passed, unless the termination proceedings in Sec. 98-13 (A)(9) of this ordinance are initiated against the user.
    2. A user that is responsible, in whole or in part, for any discharge presenting imminent endangerment shall submit a detailed written statement, describing the causes of the harmful contribution and the measures taken to prevent any future occurrence, to the Manager prior to the date of any show cause or termination hearing under Sections 98-13 (A)(4 or 9) of this ordinance.
    Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as requiring a hearing prior to any emergency suspension under this section.
  9. Termination of Discharge - In addition to the provisions in Sec. 98-9 (F) of this ordinance, any user who violates the following conditions is subject to discharge termination:
    1. Violation of wastewater discharge permit conditions;
    2. Failure to accurately report the wastewater constituents and characteristics of its discharge;
    3. Failure to report significant changes in operations or wastewater volume, constituents, and characteristics prior to discharge;
    4. Refusal of reasonable access to the user's premises for the purpose of inspection, monitoring, or sampling; or
    5. Violation of the pretreatment standards in Sec. 98-6 of this ordinance.
    Such user will be notified of the proposed termination of its discharge and be offered an opportunity to show cause under Sec.98-13 (A)(4) of this ordinance why the proposed action should not be taken. Exercise of this option by CCWA shall not be a bar to, or a prerequisite for, taking any other action against the user.
  10. Water Supply Severance - Whenever a user has violated or continues to violate any provision of this ordinance, a wastewater discharge permit, or order issued hereunder, or any other pretreatment standard or requirement, water service to the user may be severed. Service will only recommence, at the user's expense, after it has satisfactorily demonstrated its ability to comply.

(B) Judicial Enforcement Remedies

  1. Injunctive Relief - When a user has violated, or continues to violate, any provision of this ordinance, a wastewater discharge permit, or order issued hereunder, or any other pretreatment standard or requirement, the Manager may petition the Superior Court of Clayton County through CCWA's Attorney for the issuance of a temporary or permanent injunction, as appropriate, which restrains or compels the specific performance of the wastewater discharge permit, order, or other requirement imposed by this ordinance on activities of the user. The Manager may also seek such other action as is appropriate for legal and/or equitable relief, including a requirement for the user to conduct environmental remediation. A petition for injunctive relief shall not be a bar against, or a prerequisite for, taking any other action against a user.
  2. Civil Penalties -
    1. A user who has violated, or continues to violate, any provision of this ordinance, a wastewater discharge permit, or order issued hereunder, or any other pretreatment standard or requirement shall be liable to CCWA for a maximum civil penalty of ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) per violation, per day and a minimum of one thousand dollars ($1,000.00). In the case of a monthly or other long-term average discharge limit, penalties shall accrue for each day during the period of the violation.
    2. The Manager may recover reasonable attorneys' fees, court costs, and other expenses associated with enforcement activities, including sampling and monitoring expenses, and the cost of any actual damages incurred by CCWA.
    3. In addition to the above-described penalties and damages, the law of the State of Georgia, O.C.G.A. § 12-5-52, grants the Department of Natural Resources the power to fine violators up to a maximum of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000.00) per day.
    4. In determining the amount of civil liability, the Court shall take into account all relevant circumstances, including, but not limited to, the extent of harm caused by the violation, the magnitude and duration of the violation, any economic benefit gained through the user's violation, corrective actions by the user, the compliance history of the user, and any other factor as justice requires.
    5. Filing a suit for civil penalties shall not be a bar against, or a prerequisite for, taking any other action against a user.
  3. Criminal Prosecution -
    1. A user who willfully or negligently violates any provision of this ordinance, a wastewater discharge permit, or order issued hereunder, or any other pretreatment standard or requirement shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) per violation, per day, or imprisonment for not more than sixty (60) days, or both.
    2. In addition to the above-described criminal penalties, O.C.G.A. § 12-5-53 imposes misdemeanor penalties up to $25,000.00 per day and imprisonment up to one year, and for far more serious offenses, imposes felony penalties up to $250,000.00 and imprisonment up to 15 years.
  4. Remedies Nonexclusive - The remedies provided for in this ordinance are not exclusive. Any, all, or any combination of these actions may be taken against a noncompliant user. Enforcement of pretreatment violations will generally be in accordance with CCWA's enforcement response plan. However, CCWA may take other action against any user when the circumstances warrant. Further, CCWA is empowered to take more than one enforcement action against any noncompliant user.