Georgia county to buy time for sewer repairs with $1M fine

Oct 22, 2020

A suburban Atlanta county where leaky pipes keep spilling raw sewage into creeks and rivers would pay a $1.05 million fine to regulators and get seven more years to make repairs under a new proposed federal court order.

DeKalb County commissioners voted Tuesday to approve the proposed changes to a consent decree.

The county was sued in 2010 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division over continuing spills. The county settled the lawsuit, agreeing to spend more than $1 billion to fix the problems, but didn't come close to a June 2020 deadline to complete repairs in a priority area covering about one-third of the county with the oldest and leakiest pipes.

“Obviously the major work is in front of us,” said DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond, an elected Democrat who has quadrupled county spending on sewer projects since taking office in 2017.

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