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EPA SETTLES COURT ACTION AGAINST METROPOLITAN DADE COUNTY AND THE MIAMI- DADE WATER AND SEWER AUTHORITY FOR CLEAN WATER ACT VIOLATIONS

 ATLANTA, Sept. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that a partial Consent Decree has been filed in U.S. District Court in Miami, requiring Dade County and the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Authority to replace a 37-year-old cross-bay pipe that carries untreated sewage under Biscayne Bay to the Virginia Key Wastewater Treatment Plant.
 The decree is in settlement of the first of five claims in a civil complaint filed Jun?cerning violations (Section 504) of the Clean Water Act.
 Should the 6-foot-diameter cross-bay pipe fail, millions of gallons of untreated sewage would be discharged into Biscayne Bay resulting in serious public health threats. The discharge of untreated wastewater also would result in serious damage to the Bay itself, a National Sanctuary.
 Patrick W. Tobin, acting EPA regional administrator, said: "This action represents the first use of Section 504 of the Clean Water Act as an effective response to imminent and substantial endangerment. It also sends a strong signal that overflows are illegal and that, in terms of water quality, addressing sewer overflows is as important as addressing compliance at the wastewater treatment plant."
 The decree also requires the county and sewer authority to implement a detailed continn? to protect the health and welfare of persons by ensuring an immediate response by appropriate officials in the event the cross-bay pipe fails or there are future unpermitted discharges of untreated sewage. The decree requires the county to guarantee adequate sewage treatment and transmission capacity and to suspend the issuance of building permits where adequate capacity cannot be provided. A number of short-term measures to reduce the possibility that the cross- bay pipe will fail during construction of a new pipeline and reductions of the likelihood of additional unpermitted discharges of untreated wastewater from the county's collection system are also addressed. The Consent Decree contains provisions for substantial penalties for noncompliance with the decree's provisions.
 "EPA has worked closely with the state of Florida in seeking a resolution of this matter. We must all work hard to ensure the integrity of our waterways and to correct deficiencies that threaten our well being," said W. Ray Cunningham, director of the Water Management Division in EPA's Region IV office in Atlanta.
 All parties are continuing to seek resolution on the unpermitted discharge claims alleged in the June complaint. Civil penalties for these discharges also are being sought for Clean Water Act violations. Negotiations should result in total compliance with all aspects of the Clean Water Act.
 -0- 9/9/93
 /CONTACT: Hagan Thompson of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region IV, 404-347-3004/


CO: United States Environmental Protection Agency; Miami-Dade Water
 and Sewer Authority; Dade County ST: Florida IN: ENV SU: EXE


BR-BN -- AT016 -- 0484 09/09/93 16:51 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 9, 1993
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