Fayette County

EPA fines Lexington $16,000 for missing safety records

The city of Lexington must pay federal environmental regulators $16,800 for failing to keep paperwork of employee training and other safety records at the West Hickman Wastewater Treatment Plant.

In 2013, an inspector with the Environmental Protect Agency made an unannounced visit to the West Hickman sewage treatment plant. That inspector found that the plant — which uses sulfur dioxide and chlorine — had failed to keep certain safety records required under the Clean Air Act.

Charlie Martin, director of Lexington’s Division of Water Quality, said the department did not know it was subject to Clear Air Act regulations until the inspector’s unannounced visit. The settlement agreement between the city and the EPA said that the city failed to properly retain required records from 1992 to 2004 and that current records for employee training, equipment maintenance and equipment were incomplete.

“No one was injured,” Martin said. “No one got hurt. But we could not document that we were doing training for employees.”

Martin said he has hired an environmental safety consultant to review all of the department’s operations to ensure it is complaint with all federal regulations. Martin said he has spoken to other wastewater treatment operators who also were not aware municipal wastewater treatment was subject to the Clean Air Act.

“We are now fully compliant moving forward,” Martin said.

Beth Musgrave: 859-231-3205, @HLCityhall