City meets deadline

Jackson has met a February consent decree deadline, and the city will avoid thousands of dollars in fines as a result.

“With respect to the Sewershed Prioritization Report, it has been submitted and is being reviewed by the EPA and MDEQ,” said Director of Communications Shelia Byrd. “They will either approve it, disapprove it with instructions on why they disapproved, or submit comments for the city’s response.”

The EPA is the Environmental Protection Agency. MDEQ is the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

It was not known at press time when the agencies would sign off on the documents.

MDEQ officials referred the Sun to EPA, and EPA hadn’t responded to questions at press time.

The plan was due on February 28. The report outlined how Jackson would prioritize repairs to its sewer system.

The city would have faced fines ranging from $500 to $2,000 for each day after February 28 the document had not been submitted.

Now Jackson is turning its attention to its Water Quality Management Program.

The city submitted that document for federal approval in February 2015. The EPA rejected the document because it did not outline procedures for locating sources of sanitary sewer overflows, nor did it establish routine monitoring times for detecting levels of fecal coliform in public waters.

Fecal coliform is essentially bacteria found in human waste.

Jackson has until March 14 to resubmit the report, or it could again face fines.

Another report, the Capacity Assurance Program (CAP) is due in June. That report tells EPA how the city will add new users to the system as repairs are made. 

The city entered into the decree in 2012 with EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Under terms of the agreement, Jackson must make $400 million in upgrades and improvements to its sewer system. The improvements are needed to bring the aging system into compliance with federal water quality laws.

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