Middletown has agreed to complete three major work projects at a cost of $265 million to resolve threatened EPA enforcement claims under the Clean Water Act due primarily to combined sewer overflows.
The proposed consent decree includes implementation of a Long-Term Control Plan to reduce combined sewer overflows into the Great Miami River, commitment to planned sewer system rehabilitation and commitment to planned waste water treatment plant rehabilitation, it was announced after Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
The components are to be implemented over 25 years. The city’s agreement allows it to avoid protracted, costly and disruptive federal court litigation, the results of which would be uncertain, said City Manager Doug Adkins.
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The improvements, he said, align with the city’s overall revitalization efforts.
There are three plans:
The Long-Term Control Plan includes construction of two large storage tanks and associated pump stations, a Storm Water Redirection Project including new storm sewer and pump station and Green Infrastructure Project to divert storm water flow tributary to the Combined Sewer System into a regional detention basin. The estimated cost is $112 million, Adkins said.
The Sewer System Rehabilitation includes 40 miles of sewer pipe that is at or near the end of its useful life, Adkins said. The estimated cost is $74 million.
The WWTP Rehabilitation includes “critical rehabilitation and upgrades” to major treatment plant components that are necessary for the plant to remain viable over the next 25 years, Adkins said. The estimated cost is $79 million.
Middletown also has agreed to complete a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) to significantly reduce the civil penalty for the alleged violations. The SEP includes capping of sediments in a designated section of the Hydraulic Canal adjacent to the STM/Wrenn Site. The project will allow for future redevelopment of the site.
The civil penalty has been reduced to $55,000 in consideration of this project, Adkins said.
He called the project a “win-win” for the city and Ohio EPA because it will create a clean, shovel-ready building site for future development consistent with the Downtown Master Plan.
The proposed consent decree is expected to be filed in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in early 2018. The filling will initiate a 30-day comment period.
Should no significant comments be received objecting to the agreement, the U.S. Department of Justice is expected to file a motion asking the court to enter the proposed consent decree as final and effective, Adkins said.
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