Friday, April 16, 2010

More progress on finalizing Kansas City's consent decree

Friday, Apr 16, 2010

Posted on Thu, Apr. 15, 2010

KC Council approves accord with EPA on $2.5 billion sewer system overhaul

By LYNN HORSLEY The Kansas City Star

The Kansas City Council gave its blessing Thursday to a consent decree with the federal government for a $2.5 billion overhaul of the city’s aging sewer system.

The vote caps more than a year of intense negotiations with the Environmental Protection Agency over allegations that Kansas City had been polluting rivers and streams with its sewer overflows.

The proposed settlement allows a 25-year schedule to fix those problems — a longer sewer repair time frame than other cities have received.

The plan still must be approved by the U.S. Justice Department and a federal judge before it takes effect.

The 25-year schedule allows the city to spread out the costs over a longer period, thus somewhat reducing the serious financial effect on Kansas City’s sewer patrons.

In addition, the consent decree sets out $600,000 in federal civil penalties for alleged sewer violations and gives time frames and deadlines for the massive amount of work that must be done.

The project involves the installation of huge tunnels and new sewer pipes, along with “green solutions” — environmentally progressive, natural landscaping approaches designed to improve water quality.

The city also agreed to provide funds to help about 500 low- to moderate-income families on septic systems hook up to nearby sewer lines.

To reach Lynn Horsley, call 816-234-4317 or send e-mail to

© 2010 Kansas City Star and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

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