WASHINGTON — EPA, Arkansas and the U.S. Department of Justice announced that over the next 12 years, the city of Fort Smith, Arkansas, will upgrade its sewer collection and treatment system to reduce discharges of raw sewage and other pollutants into the local waterways, according to a press release.

The upgrade is projected to cost $255 million in addition to the costs of routine maintenance and operation, stated the release.

The release reported that Fort Smith will also pay a $300,000 civil penalty under a settlement filed in federal court in the Western District of Arkansas and spend another $400,000 on a program helping low income areas within the city to replace and repair privately-owned portions of the sewer network.

The agreement resolves alleged violations of the Clean Water Act pertaining to the city’s failure to properly maintain and operate its sewer collection and treatment system, noted the release.

“This settlement will achieve long overdue improvements in the city’s sewer system that will substantially reduce the number of sewage discharges and help assure that the citizens of Fort Smith reside in a safe and clean environment,” said Sam Hirsch, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resource Division.

Read the entire release here.