Trophy Club Municipal Utility District No. 1 received one of the highest environmental fines in Denton County in recent years, after state environmental inspectors found trouble at its sewer plant.
A Denton millwork and cabinetmaker, Atlas Woodworks LLC, was also fined $1,312 through a default order approved Wednesday by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in Austin.
The utility district’s $50,500 fine was part of an agreed order that deferred $10,100 of the fine in exchange for an expedited settlement. The remaining $40,400 was set aside to pay for an environmental cleanup project, an option often offered to and accepted by taxing entities.
According to state records, a state inspector reviewed test results of discharge from the sewer treatment plant near Grapevine Lake and found that it exceeded allowable limits of certain pollutants from March 2011 to February 2012. State environmental officials cited the utility district not only for the discharges, but also for failing to collect samples and analyze them for copper for three months during that time period.
District manager Jennifer McKnight started with the utility district in March 2012. Before she arrived, she said that there had been a lot of growth in Trophy Club and the area had outgrown the plant.
“Since then, we got everything in order and spent a lot of money on the plant, doing the repairs that needed to be done,” McKnight said.
In addition to the fine, the utility district was ordered to update its employee training to ensure compliance, and provide proof of such.
The utility district was also ordered to provide proof of three months continuous compliance with the discharge limits.
The utility district already met those requirements and continues to plan for about $6 million worth of improvements to the plant over the next few years, McKnight said.
The utility district also agreed to contract with the Texas Association of Resource Conservation and Development Areas Inc. for a household hazardous waste cleanup in Denton County. The project has not yet been scheduled, McKnight said.
In July 2012, a state inspector noted that Atlas Woodworks did not have a storm water protection plan for its shop, located at 2401 Worthington Drive in Denton.
The TCEQ sent a notice of violation in July, but the company did not respond.
A default order assessed the $1,312 fine and ordered corrective action, reserving the right to refer the matter to the Texas attorney general for enforcement, if needed.
No one could be reached for comment at the Denton location.
In all, commissioners approved $1,229,876 in fines against 77 entities for violating state environmental rules.
PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.