Processing Magazine

City of Memphis agrees to eliminate sewage overflows

April 17, 2012

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the Office of the Tennessee Attorney General announced a comprehensive Clean Water Act (CWA) settlement with the City of Memphis, Tenn.

Memphis has agreed to make improvements to its sewer systems to eliminate unauthorized overflows of untreated raw sewage. Memphis estimates such work will cost approximately $250 million.

The major features of the consent decree will require Memphis to implement specific programs designed to ensure proper management, operation and maintenance of its sewer systems to eliminate unauthorized overflows of untreated raw sewage.

In order to address the problem of grease buildup within the sewer lines, Memphis developed and will be required to implement a comprehensive fats, oil and grease (FOG) program.

Furthermore, the consent decree will require Memphis to develop and implement a continuing sewer assessment and rehabilitation program to ensure that the integrity of sewer infrastructure is appropriately maintained to prevent system failures that would likely result in unauthorized overflows.

“EPA is working with communities across country to address sewage overflows that negatively impact the health of residents and impair local water quality,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “This collaborative agreement with the city of Memphis will reduce raw sewage overflows, protecting area waterways now and into the future.”