Utility agrees to reduce sewage discharges to waterways

Aug. 19, 2015

PHILADELPHIA — The settlement will help reduce raw sewage exposure for locals, which include many low-income communities.

PHILADELPHIA — The Delaware County Regional Water Quality Control Authority (DelCORA) reached a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to resolve Clean Water Act allegations, according to a press release.

The EPA alleged DelCORA violated the Clean Water Act with combined sewer overflows (CSOs) to the Delaware River and its tributaries, noted the release. DelCORA’s sewer system has had historical problems with stormwater, raw sewage, industrial waste, nitrogen and phosphorus overflows running into Chester creek, Ridley Creek and the Delaware River.

As part of the settlement, DelCORA will implement an overflow control plan to comply with the Clean Water Act, stated the release. The authority could spend as much as $200 million on the system. DelCORA will have 20 years to complete the pollution control measures after they are approved.

DelCORA must also pay $1.375 to resolve prior violations, reported the release. The U.S. and Pennsylvania will split the penalty.

"This settlement achieves a long-term solution to reduce millions of gallons of sewage overflows into the creeks and the Delaware River," said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin in the release. "It puts DelCORA on a sustainable path to managing stormwater in ways that will benefit the health and quality of local communities and waters for years to come."

Raw sewage exposure can cause a range of health problems including mild to severe gastroenteritis, cholera, dysentery and hepatitis, shared the release. The settlement will help reduce raw sewage exposure for locals, which include many low-income communities.

You can find the entire release here.

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