EPA announces settlement to resolve Clean Water violations in Harrisburg

February 17, 2015

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a proposed partial settlement with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP), the City of Harrisburg and Capital Region Water.

The settlement, if accepted, will resolve alleged Clean Water Act violations regarding sewer overflow and polluted storm water that was discharged into the Susquehanna River and Paxton Creek. As part of the agreement, the plaintiffs will take steps to protect public health, the two impacted waterways and Chesapeake Bay.

The settlement was filed alongside the complaint in Harrisburg federal court by the U.S Department of Justice on behalf of the EPA and PADEP. It address issues with the city of Harrisburg's combined sewer system which would frequently discharge raw sewage, industrial waste and polluted storm water during particularly rainy events. Following publication in the federal register the settlement will be subject to court approval.

There are no civil penalties being levied against the offending parties. Instead Capital Region Water will take steps to improve maintenance operations of Harrisburg's waste and storm water collection systems, and conduct assessments of existing sewer water systems. The work is to be completed within five years and estimated to cost $82 million. Capital Region Water will also be required to submit a long term control plan to the EPA for approval.

EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin stated, "This settlement reflects EPA's commitment to an integrated approach for tackling multiple sewer and storm water overflow problems, and helping Pennsylvania meet [..] goals for improving its local waters […]. This phased approach for controlling combined sewer overflows over time includes some early action projects to reduce pollution now, while conducting further assessment and planning for long term solutions."

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