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April 25, 2011

City of Dubuque Agrees to Improve Sewer System, Pay Penalty in Settlement with State AG, U.S. EPA

(DES MOINES, Iowa)  The City of Dubuque has agreed to spend $3 million on water pollution control plant and sewer collection improvements, and will pay a $205,000 penalty to the State of Iowa and the federal government in a joint settlement filed in federal court over alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act.

According to a complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa, the City of Dubuque has allegedly violated the Clean Water Act and federal pollution discharge permits since at least 2002 with untreated sanitary sewer overflows, primarily into Catfish Creek; exceeded effluent limits; and failed to comply with a pretreatment program.  The violations were investigated by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In a settlement with the Iowa Attorney General, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice, the city agrees to improve its water pollution control plant and sewer collection system over the next three years.  The city has also agreed to spend approximately $260,000 to reconstruct four alleys that incorporate permeable pavement in their design, which will help reduce the flow of storm water into the city’s sewer system.

“We at the state level have shared concerns with our federal partners about ongoing water pollution issues,” said Attorney General Tom Miller.  “This agreement addresses our concerns, and we appreciate the City of Dubuque’s commitment to fix this threat to the Mississippi River.”

Under the settlement, the city must complete its sewer system improvements and upgrades within 34 months of an anticipated consent decree, which is subject to court approval following a 30-day public comment period.

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