On November 2012, the Department of Justice, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) reached a Clean Water Act settlement with Jackson, Mississippi. The city failed to meet requirements under the Clean Water Act because overflows of raw sewage and illegal treatment bypasses occurred at the Savanna Street Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). The facility is the largest water treatment facility in Jackson.
Ignacia S. Moreno, the Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Departments Environment and Natural Resources Division, stated: “The settlement will bring the city into compliance with the nation’s Clean Water Act, requiring significant upgrades to the existing sewer system. Under the settlement, assistance will be provided to residents to repair sewer connections in lower-income areas that have suffered historically from overflows of untreated sewage.”
The consent decree orders Jackson to assess all of its sewer systems and make necessary changes through a rehabilitation program. Improvements to the sewer system will prevent overflows, and a performance evaluation will investigate bypasses of treatment by the WWTP on Savanna Street.
In addition, the consent decree requires Jackson to develop maintenance programs for pump stations and other facilities, including a water quality monitoring program at WWTP.
The United States has formed similar agreements with municipalities in recent years. Similar agreements occurred in Mobile and Jefferson County in Birmingham (Alabama), Atlanta and Dekalb County in Georgia, Memphis, Knoxville and Nashville (Tennessee), Miami-Dade County in Florida, New Orleans in Louisiana, Hamilton County in Cincinnati (Ohio), and Northern Kentucky Sanitarian District #1 and Louisville MSD (Kentucky).
Enforcement on municipal raw sewage and contaminated stormwater regulations has been a priority of the EPA from 2011 to 2013. The enforcement has attempted to reduce the risk to the public and environment while encouraging the use of green infrastructure.
In addition to the conditions under the settlement, the city of Jackson has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $437,916. The city has also agreed to begin an environmental project valued at $875,000. The project will reduce the amount of water entering the sewer system by repairing bad private lateral sewer lines and illegal or outdated stormwater connections.
Cynthia Giles, the Assistant Administrator with the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, states: “EPA is working with cities to protect the nation’s waters from raw sewage overflows that can have significant impacts on people’s health and the environment. Today’s settlement will lead to improvements in the management of wastewater overflows, which will reduce water pollution and benefit the Jackson community for years to come.”
Source: Department of Justice