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U.S. vs. The City of Kansas City, Missouri - Consent Decree - Clean Water Act

On May 18, 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lodged a consent decree in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, against the City of Kansas City, Mo. The consent decree requires the city to implement an Overflow Control Plan for its municipal sewer system to address longstanding violations of the federal Clean Water Act. The plan is designed to yield significant long-term benefits to public health and the environment, and provide a model for the incorporation of green infrastructure and technology toward solving overflow issues.

The consent decree requires the City of Kansas City to spend an estimated $2.5 billion over a 25-year work schedule on repairs, modifications and new construction to rebuild its sewer system. When completed, the sanitary sewer system will have adequate infrastructure to capture and convey combined stormwater and sewage to the city's treatment plants. This is expected to keep billions of gallons of untreated sewage from reaching surface waters.

As part of the agreement, Kansas City must also spend $1.6 million on a supplemental environment project to implement a voluntary sewer connection and septic tank closure program for income-eligible residential property owners who elect to close their septic tanks and connect to the public sewer. Additionally, the consent decree requires the city to pay a civil penalty of $600,000 to the United States.

The consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court.

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