MIAMI, Okla. (AP) _ Efforts to improve Miami's sewage treatment system won't keep the city from having to pay a $13,000 fine for the release of thousands of gallons of sludge in May.
The state Department of Environmental Quality has given the city until Jan. 1 to pay the fine for the spill into Tar Creek and the Neosho River.
The city can request a hearing within 30 days if it wants to appeal the decision.
Nearly 88,000 gallons of sludge had to be removed from the watershed near the city's southeast treatment plant and 66,400 were removed from the northeast plant after the May 10 sewage spill.
The city has since developed standard operating procedures and a plan for preventative maintenance. It has repaired faulty equipment and made structural improvements to eight drying beds, according to a report sent to the state by City Manager Michael Spurgeon.
Sludge generated during the months of June and July was taken to a landfill, Spurgeon said.
City officials also have approved a rate increase to cover the cost of expanding the sewage treatment plants and building a new wastewater treatment plant.
The latest DEQ order cites numerous violations since the city entered into a consent order on Dec. 30, 1999. At that time, Miami was fined $20,000 for permit violations from June 1996 through November 1999.