/EPA prepared to fine Jackson for consent decree violations

EPA prepared to fine Jackson for consent decree violations

This is despite a letter sent by Mayor Tony Yarber on Oct. 6 to U.S. EPA Southeast regional Administrator Heather McTeer Toney stating that Jackson City Council was “interfering with” and “jeopardizing” the City’s ability continue to comply with the Consent Decree. In November 2012 Jackson entered into a consent decree with the EPA, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, for violating the federal Clean Water Act. According to the EPA the violations include 2,300 illegal sewer discharges into Pearl River. This equates to 2.8 billion gallons minimally treated sewage. Jackson must make major improvements to its sewer system and pay a $437 916 civil penalty and other penalties if they do not meet certain deadlines. Yarber and city council members have been at odds for months over the appointment of the program manager to oversee consent decree work. Yarber sent a Nov. 2 letter to James D. Giattina (director of the EPA’s Water Protection Division) requesting more information from the city about the state of compliance. This included previously approved programs that were related to the consent decree. It also stated that the city could face fines of up to $7,000 per daily for missing key deadlines, regardless of fault. This includes up to $2,000 per day for failure to submit key reports or $5,000 per day for failing required repairs. Giattina stated that the City’s failures to adhere to the Consent Decree will continue to pose a serious threat to the environment and human health. Contributing: Kendra Ablaza