Greenville, Mississippi Clean Water Settlement
- Injunctive Relief
- Environmental Justice
- Next Generation
- Climate Change
- Pollutant Reductions
- Health and Environmental Effects
- Civil Penalty
- State Partner
- Comment Period
Overview of Facilities
The City of Greenville, MS (City) owns and operates the Greenville Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTP), approximately 200 miles of sanitary sewer lines, and 100 sanitary sewer pump stations and associated appurtenances. The system’s service population is approximately 34,700 persons.
The complaint seeks injunctive relief and civil penalties and alleges four claims under the CWA and the Mississippi Air and Water Pollution Control Law (MAWPCL) § 49-17-1 et seq. These claims are: (1) unauthorized discharges into navigable waters; (2) failure to comply with NPDES permit conditions for operation and maintenance of its sanitary sewer system, (3) failure to comply with NPDES permit effluent discharge limitations, and (4) failure to comply with NPDES permit conditions regarding timely reporting noncompliance.
The Partial Consent Decree only partially resolves the City’s CWA and MAWPCL violations. The Partial Consent Decree requires the City to complete Early Action Projects, develop and implement capacity, management, operations, and maintenance (CMOM) programs, and conduct sewer system evaluation/rehabilitation (SSER) for Groups 1 and 2, which account for 80% of SSOs. The work under the Partial Consent Decree will be completed over the next six years.
The City is approximately 80% African American, and over a third of the population is below the poverty level. Population has been decreasing and is projected to decline in the future.
The Partial Consent Decree requires the City to prioritize sanitary sewer rehabilitation work in areas that have been identified by the EPA as potentially having environmental justice issues (minority and/or low income neighborhoods).
To increase transparency, the Partial Consent Decree requires the City to post on its website instructions to the public for receiving email notice when Deliverables that are required to be prepared and/or submitted by the City pursuant to the Partial Consent Decree are posted to the City’s website.
The Partial Consent Decree includes provisions that take into account EPA’s encouragement of practices that improve the resilience of cities’ sewer systems to the impacts of climate change. Specially, the Partial Consent Decree states, “[a]ll Work shall be performed using sound engineering practices to ensure that construction, management, operation and maintenance of the Sewer System complies with the CWA, including practices to improve the resilience of the Sewer System to the impacts of climate change,” and directs the City to utilize EPA’s Climate Ready Water Utilities Initiative and EPA’s Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool Version 2.0.
Through the implementation of the Partial Consent Decree, the following estimated annual pollutant reductions will result:
- 702 pounds of total suspended solids;
- 672 pounds of biochemical oxygen demand;
- 1,681 pounds of chemical oxygen demand;
- 109 pounds of total nitrogen; and
- 16 pounds of total phosphorus.
Health and Environment Effects
- Total suspended solids (TSS) – TSS indicates the measure of suspended solids in wastewater, effluent or water bodies. High levels of TSS in a water body can diminish the amount of light that penetrates the water column and reduce photosynthesis and the production of oxygen.
- Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) – BOD is an indirect measure of the biologically degradable material present in organic wastes. High BOD means there is an abundance of biologically degradable material that will consume oxygen from the water during the degradation process. It may take away oxygen that is needed for aquatic organisms to survive.
- Chemical oxygen demand (COD) – COD is a measure based on the chemical decomposition of organic and inorganic contaminants, dissolved or suspended in water. As with BOD, high levels of COD indicate high levels of pollutants are present in the wastewater that will consume oxygen from the water, and may take away oxygen that is needed for aquatic organisms to survive.
- Nutrients - Excess levels of nitrogen and phosphorus in waters can produce harmful algal blooms. These blooms contribute to the creation of hypoxia or “dead zones” in water bodies where dissolved oxygen levels are so low that most aquatic life cannot survive.
A civil penalty for the City will be deferred and assessed when a final CD or other settlement is entered.
The State of Mississippi, acting through the Mississippi Commission on Environmental Quality and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, will join as a co‑plaintiff and bring its own parallel claims under State law, the MAWPCL, Miss. Code Ann. § 49-17-1 et seq.
The proposed Partial Consent Decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi,, the settlement will be subject to a 30-day public comment period. Information on submitting comments is available at the Department of Justice website.
For more information, contact:
Water Enforcement Division
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW (Mail Code 2243A)
Washington, DC 20460