- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
An agreement resulted in a consent decree filed in the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Kentucky in Louisville in April 2005. The original suit was filed in February 2004 and the parties have been negotiating since that time.
The consent decree will require the MSD to: propose and implement specific corrective action plans to bring overflows from its combined sewers that carry a combination of both untreated sewage and storm water into compliance with water quality standards; propose and implement specific corrective action plans to eliminate unauthorized discharges from its sanitary sewers that carry just untreated sewage (the worst discharges, representing approximately 75 percent of the total, must be addressed by no later than 2013); improve its management, operation and maintenance programs to prevent future overflows; and respond to overflows when they occur.
"This joint enforcement action represents tremendous team work between federal and state partners that will bring long-term, significant environmental improvements to the Louisville area and the Ohio River system," said Kelly Johnson, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "This case is another outstanding example of how federal and state agencies can work together to achieve compliance with our environmental regulations."
The MSD is responsible to maintain and operate six regional wastewater treatment facilities, 21 minor treatment plants and about 3,000 miles of sewer lines. Nearly 21 percent of these are single service lines carrying both stormwater and untreated sewage to the Morris Forman Waste Water Treatment Plant. The remainder of the system contains separate lines for stormwater and sewage. The system can be overwhelmed after a rainfall, resulting in unauthorized discharges of untreated sewage. In 2004, the system's separated system experienced over 500 million gallons of unauthorized discharges.
The consent decree also requires the MSD to pay a civil penalty of $1 million to the Commonwealth of Kentucky and perform $2.5 million in supplemental environmental projects with supervision to provide public health screenings for residents of neighborhoods next to industrialized areas of the western portion of Louisville, provide funding for groups to raise environmental awareness and stewardship, and convert and reclaim the former Lee's Lane Landfill for public use.
For more information, visit www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/cases/civil/cwa/louisville.html.