Enforcement

City of Jackson - Mississippi Clean Water Act Settlement

(Washington, DC - November 21, 2012) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Justice, and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) announced today a comprehensive Clean Water Act settlement with the city of Jackson, Miss. Jackson has agreed to make improvements to its sewer systems to eliminate unauthorized overflows of untreated raw sewage and unauthorized bypasses of treatment at the Savanna Street Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), the city’s largest wastewater treatment facility.

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Overview of Municipality

The City of Jackson, Mississippi owns and operates a separate sanitary sewer system. Jackson’s system includes the Savanna Street, Presidential Hills and Trahon wastewater treatment plants and a wastewater collection and transmission system.

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Violations

Jackson violated Section 301 of the Clean Water Act and terms and conditions of its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System(NPDES) permits. Jackson’s alleged violations include over 2,300 sanitary sewer overflows, prohibited bypasses, operation and maintenance failures, and effluent limit violations.

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Injunctive Relief

The proposed consent decree will require Jackson to implement comprehensive injunctive relief within approximately 18 years, with the majority of the work being done in the first 11 years. When the injunctive relief is implemented, the settlement will help reduce direct exposure of raw sewage to low income populations in Jackson. The remedial measures include:

  • early action projects at Jackson’s wastewater treatment plants
  • evaluation and rehabilitation of Jackson’s wastewater collection and transmission system
  • development and implementation of a performance evaluation and composite correction program for the Savanna Street wastewater treatment plant
  • development and implementation of programs to insure proper capacity, management, operations and maintenance of the sewer system.

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Pollutant Reductions

  • 5,690,422 pounds of total suspended solids
  • 5,446,982 pounds biological oxygen demand
  • 883,993 pounds of total nitrogen
  • 126,285 pounds total phosphorus

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Health and Environmental 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. 
  • Biological 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. 
  • 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.

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Civil Penalty

Jackson will pay a total of $437,916 as a civil penalty for its Clean Water Act violations to the United States and the State of Mississippi. Jackson will pay its civil penalty over a 19 month period. Jackson also agreed to spend $875,000 on a supplemental environmental project in low income areas in the City. The penalty in this case was derived according to the Clean Water Act Settlement Penalty Policy .

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State Partners

The State of Mississippi is a co-plaintiff.

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Comment Period

Once the proposed consent decree is lodged with the Court, the settlement will be subject to a 30-day public comment period.  Information on submitting comment is available at the Department of Justice website.

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For more information, contact

Carol DeMarco
Water Enforcement Division
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW (Mail Code 2243A)
Washington, DC  20460
(202) 564-2412
Carol DeMarco (demarco.carol@epa.gov)

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