DeKalb, feds reach ‘agreement in principle’ on county sewer fixes

DeKalb County and attorneys for the federal government have “reached an agreement in principle” to extend the deadline for DeKalb to fix its failing sewer system. 

That according to a status report filed in Atlanta’s U.S. District Court on Friday, some three weeks after the original deadline for improvements laid out in the 2011 consent decree between DeKalb, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division. 

“This proposed modification … is in line with the stated goals of the consent decree and includes an extension of the June 20, 2020 deadline for the county to complete the Priority Areas Sewer Assessment and Rehabilitation Program,” the filing said. “It would also, among other things, entail additional obligations on the county, including interim schedules and payment of a penalty.”

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Despite spate of sewer spills, DeKalb CEO says progress being made

Few other details were provided. 

A spokesman for the Georgia EPD declined to comment. A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice also declined to comment, but did point out that any agreement would have to go through an approval process with the EPA and the Justice Department before being presented in court. It would also be subject to a 30-day public comment period.

DeKalb County officials did not immediately provide a comment on the apparent agreement. 

The original consent decree gave DeKalb about 8 ½ years to fix key sections of its long-neglected sewer system and all but eliminate sewer spills to come into compliance with the federal Clean Water Act. 

Neglect, mismanagement and corruption by the county, however, meant several years passed with little progress made. And while DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond has touted the sewer system as a priority since he took office in 2017, last month’s original deadline passed with the county still years away from compliance. 

Though progress has been made, the first few months of this year alone saw some 20 million gallons of sewage spill out of DeKalb pipes and manholes and into local waterways. On Friday, DeKalb officials said that figure had decreased dramatically in the second quarter

Please return for updates.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.

Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.

With the largest team in the state, the AJC reports what’s really going on with your tax dollars and your elected officials. Subscribe today. Visit the AJC’s Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.

Your subscription to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism. Visit the AJC’s Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *