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District E Newsletter gt

Dear District E Residents,

This week, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas approved a consent decree between the City of Houston, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the State of Texas to improve Houston's wastewater system.

The consent decree will provide an estimated $2 billion of additional work in improvements to upgrade Houston's aging wastewater system and keep up with Houston's rapidly-growing population. The goal of the consent decree is to protect the environment and human health and improve the wastewater system for generations to come.

The consent decree with the EPA is part of a national program to reduce sanitary sewer overflows, which the Clean Water Act prohibits. A sanitary sewer overflow is a backup and discharge of raw wastewater that can contaminate water, cause property damage and threaten public health. The most common causes of sanitary sewer overflows are blockages (caused by grease & wipes), wastewater line breaks, and flooding (stormwater overloads the wastewater system).

Low-income communities with higher numbers of sanitary sewer overflows and aging infrastructure will be among the first priorities under the consent decree. Houston's wastewater system is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the nation, with approximately 6,000 miles of wastewater pipes, 382 lift stations to move waste due to Houston's flat topography, and 39 wastewater treatment plants.

Prior to negotiating the consent decree with the EPA , the City had already made significant improvements to its wastewater system, and reduced sanitary sewer overflows as a result of billions of dollars previously invested. The Greater Houston Wastewater Program, completed in 1997, proactively devoted $2.2 billion to approximately 430 projects involving construction, rehabilitation, and new or upgraded pump stations.

In 2005, the City also entered into an agreement with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to spend an additional $755 million to upgrade, clean and renew millions of additional feet of pipes and infrastructure.

Entry of the consent decree allows the City to formalize and build upon its ongoing work by devoting the necessary funds to continue wastewater assessment and rehabilitation programs over the next 15 years. A rate study being performed will account for any impacts on wastewater rates due to these improvements. This investment enables the City to reduce sanitary sewer overflows, protect public health and the environment, comply with federal and state laws and regulations, and improve the wastewater system for the long term.

The City will also continue its Protect Our Pipes community outreach program to increase awareness on keeping fats, oils, grease, and other items from going down the drain.

For information and resources on Protect Our Pipes, visit: ProtectOurPipes.org
For information on Houston's Consent Decree, visit: publicworks.houstontx.gov/wastewater-CD

The District E Office will be closed in observance of Good Friday, on Friday, April 2, wishing all who celebrate a Happy Easter.

David P. Martin

Items included in the newsletter:
Space Center Houston Honors Boeing
Harris County Flood Control District Projects Status Updates
Kelsey Seybold Kingwood Ribbon Cutting
Dredging Update
Dead and Dangerous Tree Removal
Flood Gates Update
8th Annual Virginia Gandy 5K Run & Walk
Construction Underway for the San Jacinto Bayou Greenway Project
Northpark Drive Overpass Project Progressing
SWD Tree and Junk Waste Collection
Covid-19 Testing and Vaccine Information
Birthday Bash Box

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