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EPA and DOJ Propose Major Modification of 2010 Clean Water Act Consent Decree with City of Kansas City, MO.

01/19/2021
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice have proposed a major modification to the Clean Water Act (CWA) Consent Decree signed with the city of Kansas City, Mo., in 2010.  The modification involves changes to the projects and timeframes needed to achieve compliance with the CWA.

“By embracing adaptive management, this modification to the Kansas City Consent Decree delivers cost-effective and measurable solutions to address overflows in one of the nation’s largest sewer systems,” said Susan Bodine EPA’s Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “This Consent Decree can be a model for other communities.”

“This modification provides additional flexibility to the city of Kansas City, while ensuring that interim and final milestones are achieved,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford.  “The modification presents the best path forward to continued improvement to water quality in the local waterways and eliminating sewer overflows.”

The proposed modification to the Clean Water Act combined sewer overflow (CSO) and sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) Consent Decree involves incorporation of an “adaptive management” process which will provide the City increased flexibility to propose revised or alternative projects to maximize available revenues, construction schedules, emerging technologies, and new and more cost-effective control measures while ensuring that overall performance will be met or exceeded. 

Kansas City’s sewer system collects and receives domestic, commercial and industrial wastewater from a population of approximately 650,000 people in the city and 27 neighboring satellite communities. The system covers about 320 square miles, and includes six wastewater treatment plants, 40 wastewater pumping stations and more than 2,800 miles of sewer lines, making it one of the nation’s largest by square miles.

In September 2010, a federal Consent Decree was entered that resolved more than eight years of Clean Water Act violations by Kansas City for discharges of untreated sewage from the City's sewage collection system, including CSOs and SSOs. The Consent Decree required Kansas City to implement a number of control measures to address CSO discharges, address the 100 million gallons of SSOs, and implement - treatment of approximately 275 million gallons per day at its wastewater treatment plants by December 31, 2035.

Under the proposed modification, the City estimates that it will spend at least $1.4 billion going forward on capital projects needed to meet the performance criteria required by this proposed modification to the Consent Decree.  The original Consent Decree required implementation by 2035.  This modification extends the final compliance date to 2040.

The modification is subject to a 30-day public comment period. 

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