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2012-12-03.Joint Statement of EPA and MDEQ Re Oct 12, 2012 Notice

2012-12-03.Joint Statement of EPA and MDEQ Re Oct 12, 2012 Notice

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Published by: Peter Cavanaugh on Dec 04, 2012
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 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTEASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGANSOUTHERN DIVISIONUnited States of America, ))Plaintiff, ))v. ) Honorable Sean F. Cox)City of Detroit,
et al.
) Case No. 77-71100)Defendants. )____________________________________)
 The United States of America, on behalf of the United States Environmental ProtectionAgency (“EPA”), and the State of Michigan, on behalf of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (“MDEQ”), hereby file this Joint Statement as a follow-up to the UnitedStates’ October 12, 2012 Notice.EPA and MDEQ have taken the opportunity to review presentations made bymanagement consulting firm EMA to the Detroit Sewerage and Water Department (“DWSD”).These presentations were dated August 2012 and September 6, 2012 (“EMA’s Presentations” or“EMA’s Proposal”).In general, EMA made recommendations concerning a potential reorganization of DWSDand the deployment, use, and optimization of automation, technology, and systems control forthe purpose of achieving greater efficiency and cost savings. EMA is not an environmentalconsultant and its Presentations do not deal directly with EPA’s and MDEQ’s areas of  jurisdiction and expertise. Nevertheless, because EMA’s Proposal was raised in DWSD’s
2:77-cv-71100-SFC Doc # 2509 Filed 12/03/12 Pg 1 of 90 Pg ID 16702
2Motion for an Interim Order, EPA and MDEQ reviewed EMA’s Proposal to assess whether anyaspects of it appear likely to affect DWSD’s compliance with its NPDES permit and the CleanWater Act (“CWA”), 33 U.S.C. §§ 1251
et seq.
 Since this Court’s October 12, 2012 status conference, representatives from DWSD andEMA presented and explained EMA’s Proposal to EPA and MDEQ. EPA and MDEQ alsoreviewed available public documentation concerning the Proposal. In addition, fromNovember 6, 2012, through November 9, 2012, EPA, with the participation and assistance of MDEQ, conducted a Compliance Evaluation Inspection at the DWSD wastewater treatmentplant.At this time, EPA and MDEQ take no position on the appropriateness of EMA’sProposal. However, EPA and MDEQ have identified one aspect of the Proposal that, if implemented as written, could have a negative impact on CWA compliance: the significantprojected reductions in staffing levels within DWSD’s wastewater operations group(“WWOG”).
DWSD informs EPA and MDEQ that the WWOG currently has over 600employees. By contrast, after implementation of all recommended actions, EMA’s Proposalprojects fewer than 150 WWOG employees.
In discussions with EPA and MDEQ, DWSD managers indicated that EMA’s projectedstaffing levels have not been adopted by DWSD and are only
not a plan. DWSD
EPA and MDEQ do not, at this time, take a position or comment upon other recommendationsin EMA’s Proposal, including, for example, job classification redesign, computerizedmaintenance management systems improvements, automation and IT support system changes,and control system upgrades.
August 2012 EMA PowerPoint Presentation at 16. The August 2012 Presentation lists 68employees under the wastewater manager and 76 employees under the field/central servicesmanager. Some of those 76 field/central services employees will perform duties currentlyundertaken by WWOG employees.
2:77-cv-71100-SFC Doc # 2509 Filed 12/03/12 Pg 2 of 90 Pg ID 16703
3represented that it intends to move forward with EMA’s proposed staffing actions (
jobclassification redesign, team training,
) in a step-by-step, piloted manner, with time toevaluate and adjust as necessary. DWSD further represented that no recommended actionswould be implemented that threatened safety or compliance.Safeguards already in place should help to minimize the risk that reductions in WWOGstaffing levels might undermine DWSD’s ability to comply with its NPDES permit and theCWA:1. DWSD entered into an Administrative Consent Order (“ACO”) and a FirstAmended ACO with MDEQ on July 8, 2011, and May 18, 2012, respectively.The ACO and First Amended ACO are Attachments 1 and 2 to this Notice.2. Under the ACO, DWSD was required to develop and submit a Staffing Plan thatidentified “the minimum number of maintenance and operations staff necessary toproperly operate and maintain the Detroit WWTP and CSO facilities and astrategy for successful succession planning and training to ensure competentstaff.” Att. 1 (ACO) ¶ 3.6. DWSD submitted that plan at the end of July 2011and MDEQ subsequently approved it. The approved Staffing Plan isAttachment 3 to this Notice.
 3. Under the approved Staffing Plan, the WWOG’s minimum staffing level for FY2011/2012 is 645. Att. 3 (Staffing Plan) at 3. As of October 1, 2012, DWSD wasrequired to staff the WWOG at 90% of the minimum staffing level. Att. 1 (ACO) ¶ 3.6.c. The Staffing Plan is an enforceable plan under the ACO.
 ¶¶ 3.6.a, 4.5.4. Under the ACO, the WWOG’s minimum staffing level can be revised only bymutual agreement between MDEQ and DWSD in writing and incorporated byreference into the ACO.
. ¶ 3.6.f.
While the Staffing Plan is dated April 1, 2011, DWSD did not submit it to MDEQ until the endof July 2011 and MDEQ approved it on January 24, 2012. EPA and MDEQ recognize that theapproved Staffing Plan is based,
inter alia
, on DWSD’s 2011 organizational structure and theautomation, technology, and control systems then in place. Changes in these and other areasmay well impact appropriate future minimum staffing levels. DWSD must secure the approvalof MDEQ for any changes in minimum staffing levels.
2:77-cv-71100-SFC Doc # 2509 Filed 12/03/12 Pg 3 of 90 Pg ID 16704

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