Evansville, Indiana, has entered a consent decree in which the city agrees to make extensive improvements to its sewer systems and pay civil penalties of $420,000 to EPA and $70,000 to the state. United States v. City of Evansville, No. 09-128 (S.D. Ind. lodged 01/06/11). Under the proposed settlement, which must be approved by the court, the city will improve operation and maintenance, as well as develop and implement a comprehensive plan to increase the capacity of its sewer system to minimize or eliminate the discharge of untreated sewage to the Ohio River during rainfall events. Implementation costs could exceed $500 million, and the plan must be fully implemented by calendar year 2032.
The city will take immediate steps to upgrade the treatment capacity of its two wastewater treatment plants and will also implement an environmental project that will connect homes with failing septic systems to the city’s sewer system at a cost of more than $4 million. Evansville’s sewer system serves a population of approximately163,000. Thirty-nine percent of the city’s total sewered area is served by combined sewers while 61 percent is served by separate sanitary sewers. The proposed settlement is subject to a 30-day comment period and court approval.