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The U.S. EPA announced an $82 million consent decree with the city of San Diego, Surfrider Foundation and San Diego Baykeeper regarding improvements to the city’s sewage collection system.
The consent decree was lodged with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. This consent decree, the second such partial settlement in two years, specifies actions the city will take through 2007, while the parties prepare for approval of a long-term agreement to prevent future spills of raw sewage from San Diego’s system.
“We will continue to work with the city of San Diego to ensure its sewage collection system meets our federal requirements, and protects coastal resources and surrounding communities,” said Alexis Strauss, director of water programs in the EPA’s Pacific Southwest office.
According to the terms of the consent decree announced today, the city will continue its enhanced: inspection and maintenance programs in the city’s wastewater collection system; system-wide cleaning, root control, sewer pipe inspection, repair or replacement; and grease control blockage programs.
Over the next year, the parties will complete a comprehensive long-term agreement to remedy San Diego’s sewage and wastewater problems, bringing to a close a multi-year effort by the EPA to address the city’s sewage collection system spills.
In 2002, the EPA issued an administrative order requiring the city of San Diego to address sewer collection system maintenance, repair and replacement issues. In June of 2003, the Department of Justice filed a complaint on behalf of EPA seeking a long-term court-sanctioned resolution to the problems, joining environmental groups who had already filed a Clean Water Act citizens’ lawsuit against the city.
San Diego’s Municipal Wastewater Collection System collects wastewater from approximately 1.2 million residents over 330 sq miles. The system has an estimated 2,800 miles of sewer lines and 84 pumping stations.
The recently lodged consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and will require final court approval before taking effect.