EPA, City of Lexington extend consent decree deadline

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Commonwealth of Kentucky are working with the City of Lexington, Kentucky to extend the compliance deadline of an existing consent decree to resolve issues related to the city’s sanitary sewer systems.

The amended consent decree, which will be lodged with the Court and subject to a public comment period before it is entered by the Court, will extend the current compliance deadline for the city to complete sewer system improvements from December 2026 to December 2030.

Since the original consent decree was signed, the City of Lexington has completed 75 remedial projects focused on improvements to the sewer system, but the city needs additional time to complete the remaining projects. In addition to addressing supply chain delays and workforce disruptions, the extension of the deadline will allow for timely completion of an expanded scope of projects that was not contemplated at the time the existing compliance schedule was established, including a 50 percent increase in the flow capacity of the East Hickman Force Main, a 2-million gallons per day upgrade to the East Hickman Pump Station, and a nearly 50 percent increase to the East Hickman wet weather storage facility.

The original consent decree, which was finalized in January 2011, resolved a lawsuit that the EPA and the Commonwealth of Kentucky filed against the City of Lexington for violations of the Clean Water Act related to sanitary sewer overflows. The consent decree required the study, design, and implementation of numerous construction projects to repair and upgrade sewer system infrastructure to prevent the discharge of sewage into surface water streams during periods of heavy rainfall.

Improvement projects already implemented by the city have abated 85 recurring sanitary sewer overflows. These results have contributed to the reduction of pollutants to waters that can cause water quality problems and human health impacts due to exposure to raw sewage. Furthermore, the proposed schedule of the amended consent decree also anticipates having 90% of the listed recurring sanitary sewer overflows abated by December 2026.

The consent decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court. The consent decree can be viewed on the Department of Justice website.

For more information, please visit the website for this consent decree.

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