Tuesday, February 14, 2023

EPA: Capital Region Water Authority Agrees To Make Upgrades To Wastewater Treatment For Harrisburg Area

On February 14, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Environmental Protection announced
Capital Region Water will make substantial upgrades to the sewer and stormwater systems that serves the Harrisburg area under a proposed modified consent decree.

The modified consent decree updates a 2015 consent decree that resolved violations of the Clean Water Act and the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law for unauthorized discharges into the Susquehanna River and its tributary, Paxton Creek. 

Capital Region Water owns and operates the Harrisburg sewer and stormwater systems, including an Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility located on Cameron Street in Harrisburg. 

The Facility discharges treated wastewater from Harrisburg and the surrounding area into the Susquehanna River and eventually the Chesapeake Bay.

The proposed modified consent decree is needed to ensure that Capital Region Water’s treatment facility and sewer system is functioning adequately to address continued problems with combined sewage overflows and support a sufficient plan for controlling overflows in the long term.

“It is so important for treatment plants to make the necessary and required upgrades so that local waterways and the Susquehanna River can be protected from harmful pathogens,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz. “And by protecting local waterways, we will also be protecting the treasured Chesapeake Bay.”

The modified consent decree also requires Capital Region Water to incorporate green infrastructure planning, provide more robust public notice of any sewer overflows, and post submissions required under the modified consent decree to its website.

“Capital Region Water has not wavered from its commitment to clean water in and around Harrisburg,” said Capital Region Water CEO Charlotte Katzenmoyer. “The compliance milestones and projects identified in the Modification to the Partial Consent Decree will ensure compliance with wet weather targets, but it’s not the end goal. We encourage public comment now and will continue to provide various opportunities for the public to provide input on a larger plan to control combined sewer overflow events, which are a symptom of our dated, aging infrastructure.”

After the Modification is filed in court, notice will be provided in the Federal Register, and customers and stakeholders will have a 30-day public comment period to provide comment on the Modification to the Partial Consent Decree. 

Click Here for a copy of the Partial Consent Decree.

After consideration of public comments and any final changes, the partner agencies, led by DOJ, will ask the court to approve and enter the Modification to the Partial Consent Decree. When the court grants this motion, the Consent Decree will be final.


-- PennLive - Charles Thompson: Harrisburg’s Long Fight Over Sewage Overflows Into Susquehanna Gets A Peace Pact; Court Approval Pending

-- York Daily Record: Deadline Set For Harrisburg To Stop Flushing Raw Sewage Into The Susquehanna River

Related Articles:

-- Sentinels Of The Susquehanna Vol. 2 Now On Sale Featuring 40 Stories On Important River-Related Topics - By John Zaktansky, Middle Susquehanna RiverKeeper  [PaEN]

-- EPA Releases $75 Million In Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funding To Address Emerging Contaminants Like PFAS In PA Drinking Water  [PaEN]

[Posted: February 14, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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