Environmental Protection

Revere, Mass., Settlement Covers Raw Sewage Overflows

Under the terms of a consent decree lodged in federal court, (pdf) the city of Revere, Mass. will significantly reduce illegal discharges of raw sewage overflows into the environment from its wastewater collection system and separate storm sewer system.

The city has estimated that it will spend approximately $50 million to address these illegal discharges. Revere will also pay a civil penalty of $130,000 for past violations of the Clean Water Act.

The decree is the result of a federal and state enforcement action brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, on behalf of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (Mass DEP). The federal and state complaints claim that Revere’s sanitary sewers overflowed on numerous occasions, resulting in discharges of untreated wastewater from its collection system to rivers, creeks and brooks. Revere also discharged raw sewage through its storm sewer system to those waters.

The agreement will reduce discharges of untreated sewage to rivers and their tributaries that flow into Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay, including the Chelsea Creek, Sales Creek, Belle Isle Inlet and the Pines River. Under the terms of the settlement, Revere will also identify and remove sources of sewage from its separate storm sewer system.

Specifically, Revere will implement a comprehensive, system-wide plan to ensure that all sanitary sewer overflows that are associated with insufficient capacity of its separate wastewater collection system are prevented within 12 years. Revere will also address discharges from its separate storm sewer system that cause or contribute to violations of water quality standards.

The Consent Decree, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court.

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