NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced an administrative order to New York City, mandating that it draft a plan to address continued sewer backups into residents’ basements and other public and private property.
New York City has 120 days from the issuance of the order to submit a plan to EPA. The plan, which must then be approved by EPA, needs to work toward the elimination of unauthorized wastewater releases from sewer backups across the city for the next seven years.
“Since 2012, New York City has taken steps to reduce sewer backups by about 38 percent. To ensure this trend continues and accelerates, the EPA will require a comprehensive and enforceable plan,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA regional administrator. “The pressure on sewer systems and the potential for sewer backups will only get worse as the city’s population increases and as climate change results in heavy rain events. Adequate operation and maintenance of New York’s sewer system [is critical].''
EPA notes that sewage contains pathogens, including viruses and bacteria, which can cause disease in humans. EPA is currently working with cities across the nation to improve water infrastructure and thereby protect public health.