Enforcement

East Bay Municipal Utility District Settlement

(SAN FRANCISCO - July 28, 2014) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a Clean Water Act settlement requiring the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) and seven East Bay communities to conduct extensive system repairs aimed at eliminating millions of gallons of sewage discharges into San Francisco Bay.

Overview of Sewer Authority

The East Bay Municipal Utility District and its seven member communities own and operate a separate sanitary sewer system, which serves approximately 650,000 customers on the eastern side of San Francisco Bay in California. EBMUD receives wastewater from seven satellite communities, including Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, Piedmont, and the Stege Sanitary District. Each satellite community owns and operates its own wastewater collection system, which delivers wastewater to EBMUD’s interceptor system. The interceptor system transports wastewater to EBMUD’s wastewater treatment plant. EBMUD also owns and operates three wet weather facilities, which the settlement addresses.

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Violations

From approximately 2005 to the present, EBMUD’s and the satellite communities’ alleged violations include sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs). SSOs are not authorized by any National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit and constitute violations of the Clean Water Act. Further, the defendants’ SSOs are indicative of violations of the operation and maintenance requirements in their NPDES permits. Since 2009 EBMUD’s alleged violations also include unauthorized discharges from its three wet weather facilities. The satellite communities also caused or contributed to the unauthorized wet weather facility discharges. SSOs contain raw sewage and the wet weather facility discharges involve partially treated wastewater. Sewage contains various pollutants, including pathogens, and threatens public health and the environment.

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Injunctive Relief

Under the proposed decree, EBMUD and its satellite communities will implement a comprehensive regional asset management remedy that will reduce inflow and infiltration in the sewer system. Most of the work will occur in the first ten years, but the final compliance deadline to eliminate discharges from the last wet weather facility is 2035. To offset harm from the wet weather facility discharges, which may continue until the final compliance deadline, EBMUD will implement a mitigation project that reduces pollutant loadings to San Francisco Bay until 2035.

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Pollutant Reductions

EPA estimates the injunctive relief provided for in the consent decree will result in the annual reduction of pollutant loadings as follows:

Pollutant Reductions Associated with the Elimination of Wet Weather Facility Discharges

Pollutant

Annual Reductions (lbs)

Carbonaceous Biochemical Oxygen Demand

142,301

Total Suspended Solids

116,555

Copper

88

Lead

37

Zinc

233

Mercury

0.26

 

Pollutant Reductions Associated with the Elimination of SSOs

Pollutant

Annual Reductions (lbs)

Total Suspended Solids

508.24

Biochemical Oxygen Demand

486.50

Chemical Oxygen Demand

1,217.60

Total Nitrogen

78.95

Total Phosphorus

11.28

Cadmium

0.14

Copper

0.43

Lead

0.34

Zinc

2.39

 

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Civil Penalty

Each defendant will pay a civil penalty under the settlement for its past Clean Water Act violations. The total penalties amount to approximately $1.5 million. EPA applied the National Municipal Litigation Consideration in the 1995 Clean Water Act settlement penalty policy when calculating the penalties.    

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State Partner

The State of California 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. 

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For more information, contact:

Andy Crossland
Water Enforcement Division
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW (Mail Code 2243A)
Washington, DC 20460
(202) 564-0574
crossland.andy@epa.gov

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

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