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Two Mississippi water companies have agreed to settle violations of the federal Clean Water Act and to implement improvement programs designed to reduce sewage overflows and resulting pollution. The agreement was proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Justice and the state Department of Environmental Quality.
The companies, Total Environmental Solutions, Inc. (TESI) and Utility Services, LLC, have agreed to carry out a thorough assessment of 18 wastewater treatment facilities and wastewater collection and transmission systems in Mississippi. Under the terms of the agreement TESI will have to pay a civil penalty of $225,000. Utility Services plans to purchase these facilities from TESI, meaning that it would assume responsibility to comply with the settlement after the deal comes into effect, the EPA said in a statement.
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The consent decree follows numerous effluent violations, sanitary sewer overflows and cases in which adequate monitoring of wastewater operations was not provided. This resulted in repeated violations of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits that TESI was issued by the state of Mississippi.
In its official statement the EPA stressed the importance of keeping raw sewage away from U.S. waters and confirmed its commitment to ensuring that water companies and utilities carry out their duties to protect the nation's waterways by implementing timely and affordable programs to manage sewage overflows.