PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Next week Peoria City council will vote on a consent decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the State of Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to rectify the longstanding sewage overflow issues in the city.

For 14 years the city, Greater Peoria Sanitary District (GPSD), EPA and IEPA have been negotiating a settlement to the agencies’ claims that Peoria and GPSD violated the Clean Water Act.

Combined, sewers collect and carry sewage and stormwater or runoff. Usually, the sewers carry both to the wastewater plant for treatment, but after heavy rain or snowmelt storm, water overwhelms the system.

Then, the untreated sewage is released into the Illinois River.

This is called Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) and it happens between 20 to 30 times a year.

The city does not have the consent decree yet from the United States Department of Justice or EPA, but expects to receive it Monday.

It will include:

  • Civil penalty of $100,000
  • 18-year timeline for construction of improvements
  • Reliance on green infrastructure to reduce individual discharges and volume reductions
  • Additional modeling and reporting to EPA and IEPA for rainfall and storm flows
  • Public participation in the creation of a CSO remedial measures program

This fall, city staff met with the EPA, USDOJ, IEPA and the Illinois Attorney General’s Office staff to discuss necessary alterations to the timeline and penalties as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If the consent decree is approved the water quality for Peoria residents will be improved.

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