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EPA Claims Untreated Sewage Water Dumped In City Waterways

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Des Plaines River Flooding

The Des Plaines River (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (STMW) – The federal and state Environment Protection agencies filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday claiming that the city’s Metropolitan Water Reclamation District discharged untreated sewage into waterways in the Chicagoland area.

MWRD has discharged untreated sewage into waterways in and around the city including, the Chicago River, Calumet Sag channel, Addison Creek and the Des Plaines River, according to a suit filed by the federal and state Environment Protection agencies in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

The suit alleges MWRD lacks the capacity in its combined storm water and waste water collection, treatment, discharge, and disposal system to fully treat the waters at its treatment facilities.

The suit seeks a permanent injunction preventing MWRD from committing any further violations and an order to comply with the Clean Water Act and its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits.

The suit also seeks MWRD to pay a civil penalty to the federal and state government of up to $27,500 daily for each CWA violation after Jan. 30, 1997- March 15, 2004. MWRD would pay a penalty of up to $32,500 daily for a violation after March 15, 2004 – Jan. 12, 2009 and pay up to $37,500 daily for violations after Jan. 12, 2009.

The MWRD filed a consent decree Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago that the federal and state environment protection agencies have approved, said MWRD executive director David St. Pierre.

The decree states that two reservoirs are being completed for water storage. The Thornton Composite Reservoir will be completed by Dec. 31, 2015, and will have 7.9 billion gallons of storage capacity.

Two years later, the first stage of the McCook Reservoir will be completed and add 3.5 billion gallons of storage capacity, the decree states. The second stage of the McCook Reservoir will be completed by Dec. 31, 2029, and will add 6.5 billion gallons of storage capacity. When both reservoirs are completed, this will be 18 billion gallons of storage capacity.

© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2011. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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