Sanitary Sewage Spills SSOs in South Carolina Questions

Help me study for my Environmental Science class. I’m stuck and don’t understand.

1. Read through the Consent Decree (USA v. DHEC). On page 78 of the Consent Decree, DHEC must remit penalties for any violations of the Clean Water Act, i.e., “Unpermitted Discharge Event”. What are the penalties? (10 points)

2. In the last 3 years, how many SSOs occurred in South Carolina? (You can assume that each row represents 1 event). How many gallons were spilled in total during the last 3 years in South Carolina? (20 points)

To answer #2, please download the last 3 years of spills from the DHEC database:…
(FYI, you need to submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to get the previous years.)

Choose “Export (CSV)” and open in Excel. You will notice that “Discharge Volume” is in a single column. To analyze the data, you will need to separate the # of gallons from the text, “gallons”. Insert a column C, next to “Discharge Volume”. Click on the column “Discharge Volume”, then go to “Data”, click “Text to Columns”. Make sure to choose “Delimited” and click “Next”, and make sure to click “Space”, which will separate the numbers and text. Then click “Finish”. Once you finish, you should have columns A-K.

3. Now you will figure out the penalties for the previous 3 years. You will need to sort “ResponsiblePartyName” and then “DischargeVolume”, in order to isolate SSOs for the City of Columbia. Assuming the City of Columbia paid the penalty immediately after the spill, how much money did DHEC pay in the last 3 years? (20 points)

4. The cost of repairing the sewage system in Columbia is estimated to be millions of dollars. If you were in charge of the City of Columbia Metro Wastewater Treatment Plant, would you pay the fines? Or pay to install a new sewage system? (10 points)

5. The volume of sewage discharged is estimated using pictures of overflowing manholes, and not directly measured (see picture). How would this affect the measurements, the fines, and the overall situation with SSOs? (10 points)