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U.S. vs. The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District - Consent Decree - Clean Water Act

On August 4, 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lodged a consent decree in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, against the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD). The consent decree requires MSD to make extensive improvements to its sewer systems and treatment plants, at an estimated cost of $4.7 billion over 23 years, to eliminate illegal overflows of untreated raw sewage, including basement backups, and to reduce pollution levels in urban rivers and streams.

The consent decree between the United States, the Missouri Coalition for the Environment Foundation and MSD requires MSD to install a variety of pollution controls, including the construction of three large storage tunnels ranging from approximately two miles to nine miles in length, and to expand capacity at two treatment plants. These controls and similar controls that MSD has already implemented will result in the reduction of almost 13 billion gallons per year of overflows into nearby streams and rivers.

MSD will also be required to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to eliminate more than 200 illegal discharge points within its sanitary sewer system. Finally, MSD will engage in comprehensive and proactive cleaning, maintenance and emergency response programs to improve sewer system performance and to eliminate overflows from its sewer systems, including basement backups, releases into buildings and onto property.

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

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