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City of Mobile, Alabama, Sewer Overflows Settlement

The Justice Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Alabama announced on January 24, 2002 a major Clean Water Act settlement involving the Water and Sewer Board of the City of Mobile, AL, for violations of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program. Mobile Bay Watch, Inc., a local citizens' group, is also a party in the settlement.

Since 1993, the Board has experienced numerous unpermitted discharges from its transmission and collection systems, and also sporadic violations of the effluent limitations of its NPDES permits. The Board owns and operates three publicly-owned treatment works (POTWs), which discharge treated wastewater into Mobile Bay and its tributary, as well as the transmission and collection systems that carry wastewater to the POTWs for treatment. From 1995-1999, unpermitted discharge volumes of sanitary sewer overflows reaching waters of the U.S. ranged from 2.116 million gallons per year to 4.199 million gallons per year.

This is the first EPA case to resolve claims against a participant in the Agency's Region 4 Maintenance, Operation and Management Compliance (MOM) Program. The program is intended to bring all southeastern region POTWs into compliance with the "proper operation and maintenance" provision of their NPDES permits by 2011.

The proposed Consent Decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and Court approval.

For additional information, contact:

Melissa Heath
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Region IV
61 Forsyth Street, SW
Atlanta, GA 30303-3104
(404) 562-9520