2020 Environmental Real Estate Issues

The City of Corpus Christi, Texas has agreed to settle a Clean Water Act (CWA) enforcement case with EPA and the State of Texas.  The City will pay a $1.36 million penalty, split equally between the state and federal governments, and implement comprehensive corrective measures and improvements to its sewer system.

History of Sanitary System Overflows

According to EPA’s September 25 news release, the settlement addresses the City’s “longstanding problems with sanitary system overflows (SSOs).”  Broken pipes, blockages, and rainwater infiltration cause SSOs, allowing sewage to release prior to entering a wastewater treatment plant.

Evaluation and Rehabilitation of Sewer Lines

In addition to the penalty, the settlement requires the City to “prioritize cleaning and evaluating the condition of sewer lines in locations that have historically experienced SSOs” within four years of the settlement.  Generally, defects identified during the first four years must be rehabilitated within 6.5 years of the settlement; some capital projects will have a 15-year schedule.

Capacity Assessment

The City will also conduct a capacity assessment of its sewer collection system; identified capital measures must be approved within 5.5 years and completed within 15 years.  Finally, the City will implement a program to keep grease out of its system, respond to SSOs, and maintain its lift stations.

The settlement was lodged as a proposed Consent Decree in federal court in Corpus Christi; it is subject to court approval after a 30-day public comment period.  To read the news release, which includes links to access the Consent Decree https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/city-corpus-christi-agrees-invest-water-infrastructure-improvements