The village board will pay a $5,000 fine to the Department of Environmental Conservation and take steps to prevent future spills of effluent from the sewage treatment plant. But if Penn Yan does not comply with the order issued after a summer spill of sludge that entered the Keuka Lake Outlet, the village could be on the hook for another $42,580.
On Aug. 24, the village reported a 35,000 gallon spill that resulted in sludge from the sewage treatment plant entering the Keuka Lake Outlet. That spill caused significant concerns from people who draw drinking water from Seneca Lake in the area of the Keuka Outlet near Dresden. Immediately after the spill, village officials advised people to not enter or to let their pets enter the Keuka Lake Outlet. Following the spill, members of the public raised concerns about how downstream neighbors were notified of the potential pollutant in the stream.
In addition to the spill on Aug. 24, according to state officials, between July 1, 2016 and July 31, 2017, the village reported multiple instances of exceeding the limits of specific discharges from the plant. (Facilities that discharge fluids into a body of water in New York State must seek approval through a State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permit).
The Village Board agreed to the Consent Order at its Nov. 21 meeting. The agreement is subject to the approval of the DEC, through a signature by Regional Director Paul D’Amato.