To settle an enforcement action by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the State of Washington (“State”), King County and the City of Seattle have agreed to complete major upgrades to their local sewage and combined stormwater collection, piping and treatment systems to address allegedly illegal discharges. In addition, the County and City have agreed to pay civil penalties of $400,000 and $350,000 respectively. On April 16, 2013, the parties filed a Consent Decree in Federal District Court, starting the clock on a 30 day period during which the public can comment on the proposed settlement.
The settlement stems from allegations that the County discharged approximately 900 million gallons of raw sewage to waters of the U.S. each year between 2006 and 2010. EPA and the State also allege the County exceeded the specific numeric limitations in its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permit and allowed wastewater to bypass secondary treatment. The City is alleged to have discharged 200 million gallons of raw sewage each year during the same time frame.
This settlement is part of the continuing efforts by EPA and State agencies to address contaminant sources to our nation’s waterways. Addressing municipal contaminant sources has been an important component of efforts to clean up our rivers and streams.
For more information on EPA and the City’s settlement with King County and the City of Seattle, including copies of the Consent Decrees, click here.