SHAVERTOWN, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Acting Attorney General Michelle Henry says charges will be placed against the Dallas Area Municipal Authority in Shavertown for releasing untreated sewage into a creek.

According to the acting attorney general, the Dallas Area Municipal Authority (DAMA) in Shavertown allegedly discharged untreated sewage into Toby Creek.

DAMA is the operator of a municipal sewage collection and storage facility. It collects sewage from Harvey’s Lake Borough, Lehman Township, Dallas Township, Dallas Borough, Kingston Township, and Jackson Township.

Officials said the sewage should then be pumped to the Wyoming Valley Municipal Authority’s treatment plant. However, investigators determined that DAMA was receiving more sewage than their facility could handle, and therefore not all of the sewage it received made it to the treatment plant.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) conducted an inspection of DAMA’s facility in 2017 and discovered that there was an unpermitted and uncontrolled Sanitary Sewer Overflow occurring.

DEP stated untreated sewage was being discharged directly into Toby Creek for a period of more than two weeks in the amount of 500,000 to 1,500,000 gallons per day.

In 2018, DEP conducted another inspection of the facility and found the existence of a bypass pipe, along with related inlets, piping, and wastewater flow diversions, which resulted in the discharge of untreated sewage into Toby Creek.

Investigators note that none of these structures were reported to, approved by, or permitted by DEP.

Pennsylvanians have a constitutional right to clean air and pure water – I’m here to protect that right, I’m grateful for the hard work my Office’s Environmental Crimes Section is doing to hold this public utility operator accountable.”

Michelle Henry, Acting Attorney General

The charges against Dallas Area Municipal Authority are the solid waste management act and clean streams law. These charges were filed with Luzerne County Magisterial District Judge Brian Tupper on January 31, 2023.