Justice Department and US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said that the city of Oswego in New York will invest an estimated $87m to ameliorate its west side sewer system.
The improvements to the city’s sewer system, to be implemented under the settlement lodged in federal court in Syracuse, New York, will reduce the number of sewer overflows.
The settlement resolves claims by both the US and the state of New York against the city, which will pay a penalty of $99,000.
Under the settlement, the city has agreed to undertake a system-wide program that will bring the city into compliance with the Clean Water Act. Specific measures include at least 75% separation of the combined system into sanitary and storm water components, in order to prevent rainwater from overwhelming the treatment plant.
It will further make 50% expansion of the west side waste water treatment plant’s capacity, disconnection of catch basins to reduce the inflow of rain water into the existing sanitary sewer system, improvements to its operation and maintenance program, and sewer financing reforms.
The city’s west side sewer system, which serves approximately 10,000 people, is designed to transport the city’s sewage to a waste water treatment plant for treatment prior to discharge into Lake Ontario. The system includes both combined and sanitary components.
The combined system collects and transports household sewage and industrial waste water, and rainwater and street runoff, using the same pipes, whereas the sanitary component uses a separate set of pipes to collect and transport sewage and waste water only.
Ignacia Moreno, assistant attorney general of environment and natural resources division at Justice Department, said: “Today’s agreement sets Oswego on a clear path to improve the city’s sewer system in order to achieve compliance with the Clean Water Act. The required upgrades will greatly reduce the amount of pollution entering the Oswego River and Lake Ontario and result in a cleaner, safer environment.”