The New Orleans City Council Public Works Committee on Tuesday advanced a resolution to allow the Sewerage and Water Board to issue $25 million in bonds as part of a decades-long overhaul of the city’s sewer system.
The fixes and upgrades are required by a federal consent decree that the Sewerage and Water Board signed in 1998 and which was subsequently amended three times in 2010, 2013 and 2014. The original complaint that led to the legal agreement was brought on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency and accused the Sewerage and Water Board, City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana of being in violation of the federal Clean Water Act. According to the legal filings, the city was releasing untreated sewage into the Mississippi River, Lake Pontchartrain and other canals and waterways.
If the plan ultimately gets the green light, the Sewerage and Water Board would take a loan from the state’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund. The fund is a federally funded project administered by the state’s Department of Environmental Quality that provides low interest loans for capital projects on publicly owned utilities.