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The following article is provided by the EPA

Seven East Bay communities, municipal utility district to repair systems, pay civil penalties

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a Clean Water Act settlement requiring the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) and seven East Bay communities to conduct extensive system repairs aimed at eliminating millions of gallons of sewage discharges into San Francisco Bay. Under the agreement, EBMUD and the communities will assess and upgrade their 1,500 mile-long sewer system infrastructure over a 21-year period. The work is expected to cost approximately $1.5 billion. The entities will pay civil penalties of $1.5 million for past sewage discharges that violated federal environmental law.

Since 2009, EPA, state and local regulators and environmental groups have worked to reduce sewage discharges from East Bay communities. During that period, interim actions required EBMUD and the East Bay communities to improve their sewer maintenance practices and gather information to identify priorities for investment.

The San Francisco Bay covers 1,600 square miles and is the largest Pacific estuary in the Americas, a host for millions of migratory birds and a hub of commerce and recreation for more than 7 million Bay Area residents.

Unfortunately, the Bay is under threat from many sources of pollution, including crumbling wastewater infrastructure that allows sewage to escape from the system. During rainstorms, in particular, older sewer systems can be overwhelmed, releasing rivers of sewage before fully treated.

In addition to polluting waterways, raw and partially treated sewage can spread disease-causing organisms, metals, and nutrients that threaten public health. Sewage can also deplete oxygen in the bay, threatening fish, seals and other wildlife.

“For many years, the health of San Francisco Bay has been imperiled by ongoing pollution, including enormous discharges of raw and partially treated sewage from communities in the East Bay,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Many of these discharges are the result of aging, deteriorated sewer infrastructure that will be fixed under the EPA order.”

The settlement is the result of a Clean Water Act enforcement action brought by the EPA, U.S. Department of Justice, State Water Resources Control Board, San Francisco Bay Regional Water Board, San Francisco Baykeeper and Our Children’s Earth Foundation.

“This settlement will result in major reductions of sewage discharges into the San Francisco Bay,” said W. Benjamin Fisherow, Chief of Environmental Enforcement in the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.  “These improvements will help reach our goal of eliminating pollution in the neighborhoods in these cities and in the Bay so that citizens may rest assured that they reside in a safe, clean environment.”

The seven East Bay communities in the EBMUD settlement are:

City of Alameda
City of Albany
City of Berkeley
City of Emeryville
City of Oakland
City of Piedmont
Stege Sanitary District (serving El Cerrito, Kensington, and a portion of Richmond)

“The public has been required to repair their own sewer laterals for over two years now, so it is past time that the local agencies aggressively repair their sewer systems,” said Bruce Wolfe, Executive Officer of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Board. “This settlement spells out how the agencies will work with the public over the next 21 years to do just that and protect the Bay.”

“Baykeeper will be watching the progress of these repairs closely to ensure that pollution of San Francisco Bay is reduced and eventually eliminated, and we will take action if the repairs fall short,” said Baykeeper Executive Director Deb Self.

On an annual basis, hundreds of millions of gallons of raw and partially treated sewage are discharged directly to San Francisco Bay. Also, as much as 600,000 gallons of raw sewage from community sewer systems is first discharged onto streets and other public areas—through outlets such as manhole covers—before it drains to the Bay.

As part of the agreement, EBMUD and the seven communities will:

  • repair and rehabilitate old and cracked sewer pipes;
  • regularly clean and inspect sewer pipes to prevent overflows of raw sewage;
  • identify and eliminate illegal sewer connections;
  • continue to enforce private sewer lateral ordinances; and
  • ensure proactive renewal of existing sanitary sewer infrastructure.

EBMUD will also immediately begin work to offset the environmental harm caused by the sewage discharges, which are expected to continue until these sewer upgrades are completed, by capturing and treating urban runoff and contaminated water that currently flows to the Bay untreated during dry weather.

Keeping raw sewage and contaminated storm water out of the waters of the United States is one of EPA’s National Enforcement Initiatives.

The proposed settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.

Read the settlement at:

Learn more about EPA’s national wastewater enforcement initiative at:

EPA is working to restore San Francisco Bay, learn more at:

The free webinar will address current opportunities and challenges for combined heat and power (CHP) in wastewater treatment plants.

Webinar will address current opportunities and challenges for CHP in WWT plants in CA:

  • SCAQMD 1110.2 CHP solutions
  • Codigestion
  • Demand Response with CHP
  • Financial Incentives for CHP projects
  • U.S. DOE Pacific CHP Technical Assistance Partnership services

Who should register:

• Senior and middle management responsible for capital projects, energy and environmental goals
• Engineers and vendors working on CHP projects that include fuel cells, IC engines, turbines and microturbines

Register here:

Keep an eye and an ear out for the Metropolitan Water District TV and Radio ads that will be aired over the next several months as part of an ongoing region-wide advertising campaign, Don’t Waste Another Minute Wasting Water. The comprehensive campaign includes the 30-second television spots, 60-second radio advertisements and traffic report sponsorship, as well as online and mobile ads throughout the district’s six-county service areas through Oct. 30.

“We’re building a broad outreach campaign that reinforces to Southern Californians just how serious the drought is,” said Metropolitan General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger.

The television ads will air on Los Angeles and San Diego area stations through Sept. 28. The spots join radio advertisements and traffic report sponsorships on English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese and Korean stations. Along with the television and radio spots, Metropolitan’s water-saving message will be the focus of specialized “Water Wise Wednesdays” segments offering conservation tips on television and radio stations as well as on-line advertising. The campaign also will feature focused billboard and movie theater advertising.

In the latest creative image-enhancer by a municipal sewage plant, Seattle’s Brightwater Treatment facility is offering to rent its indoor rooms ($2,000 for eight hours) as a wedding venue.  According to an official, there is space for 260 guests, including full kitchen – and the plant is reputed to be a “zero odor” facility.

Read the full story here.

Experts will share perspectives and strategies for progressive, adaptable water management


The Water Environment Federation (WEF) and World Business Chicago (WBC), with support from the City of Chicago, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, and Chicago Sisters Cities International, will jointly present Chicago Water Summit 2014: Global Lessons from Great Water Cities. A distinguished panel of national and international leaders from the public and private sectors will share their experiences and perspectives about a new paradigm for water that will help communities of all sizes adapt to rapidly changing water management challenges.


Highlighting the program will be a luncheon keynote from Henk Ovink, Principal of Rebuild by Design and Senior Advisor to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. Ovink, who was recently profiled in The New York Times Magazine as a leading international water management expert, will help frame the overall discussion with insights into the famed Dutch water management approach. Other featured speakers include*:

Dr. Giulio Boccaletti, Vice President, The Nature Conservancy

Dr. Paul Bowen, Director, Sustainable Operations, The Coca-Cola Company

Albert Cho, Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, Xylem

Dr. Peter Grevatt, Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water, U.S. EPA

Christian Guenner, Director of System Development, Hamburg Wasser, Germany

Ted Henifin, General Manager, Hampton Roads Sanitation District

Harlan Kelly, Jr., General Manager, San Francisco Public Utilities

Terry Mah, President, Veolia North America

Jeff Malehorn, President & CEO, World Business Chicago

Barrett Murphy, First Deputy Commissioner of Water Management, City of Chicago

Dr. Eileen O’Neill, Executive Director, Water Environment Federation

Sandra Ralston, President, Water Environment Federation

Andy Richardson, Chairman & CEO, Greeley and Hansen

Dieter Sauer, President Water Utility Division, Grundfos North America

David St. Pierre, Executive Director, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Emilio Tenuta,Vice President of Corporate Sustainability, Ecolab

Karen Weigert, Chief Sustainability Officer, City of Chicago


In many parts of the world, pressures from population growth, climate change and urbanization are straining existing water systems and resources, sometimes beyond capacity. In order to sufficiently meet current and future water demands, water managers and civil leaders from communities of all sizes are being forced to radically rethink water management by looking for smarter and more progressive approaches that will increase resiliency, enhance livability and conserve resources. Recognizing the value of global knowledge exchange, this exclusive, one-day meeting will bring together influential leaders to discuss the big picture trends in urban water management and the new thinking around best practices, including technology and innovation; resiliency and sustainability; investments in water infrastructure systems and its impact on job creation and a strong financial future; and collaboratively working with the private sector. This forward-thinking Summit is the latest in a series of dialogues examining case studies and engaging in discussion to distill lessons learned from leading water cities, in the hopes of changing the agenda for other communities facing similar challenges. It also sets the stage for the high profile and popular water leaders session that will be held at WEFTEC® 2014—WEF’s 87th Annual Technical Exhibition & Conference—this fall in New Orleans, La. As the world’s largest annual water quality conference and exhibition, WEFTEC brings thousands of water professionals and water equipment manufacturers to Chicago every other year through 2023.


Monday, July 21, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. CST Where: The Mid-America Club, 200 East Randolph Drive, 8th Fl., Chicago, Ill.

Note to editors: Media interested in covering the event may contact Lori Harrison at to register in advance. For complete registration and event details, please visit *The final panel will be announced approximately one week prior to the event.