High copper levels in sewer addressed

Published 9:14 am Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A collaboration between the Town of Victoria and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to address copper levels that exceed the regulated amount in a town wastewater treatment facility is underway, Town Manager Rodney Newton confirmed.

“The Town of Victoria is working with Virginia DEQ to find a solution for an issue that is occurring at the East Wastewater Treatment facility for the town,” Newton said. “Copper levels in the water being discharged from the facility after treatment are higher than the permitted amounts.”

The Town of Victoria received a fine from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for $9,000 for the sewer system being in violation for exceeding the regulated copper level limits.

Newton noted the permitted copper levels for water beginning in 2015 was 5.7 micrograms, before the permitted level was 9 micrograms. Newton said the town and DEQ have been working together since 2016, when the levels were first found to exceed permitted limits.

The levels of copper in the facility have fluctuated between 6-10 micrograms.

Newton said the copper levels in the wastewater treatment facility is separate from the town’s drinking water, which has not been affected.

“This has nothing to do with the drinking water,” Newton said. “This is completely dealing with the sewer system, the treatment of the sewage and then what’s called the effluent base of the water that is discharged from the treatment facility after it is treated.”

Newton said a study is underway to look at potential causes of the copper levels and how to address it.

“A study will be conducted in the very near future to help determine the cause and possible solutions,” Newton said.

“We anticipate the proposal to be submitted by our consultant to DEQ by July 6,” Newton said.

He said in the meantime, the DEQ has issued an “interim copper level discharge for the facility until corrective actions can be made.”

Newton said the interim copper level discharge, a temporary measure while the issue is being addressed, raises the level the DEQ would permit to town to 11 micrograms.