PRESS RELEASE: Save the Sound and White Plains reach legal agreement to solve city’s sewage problems by 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 11, 2018

Contact:

Laura McMillan, 203-787-0646 ext.137 / 540-292-8429

Leanne Bloom, 914-295-4197

Save the Sound and White Plains reach legal agreement to solve city’s sewage problems by 2020

Mamaroneck, NY – Save the Sound and the City of White Plains have reached an agreement in Save the Sound’s lawsuit against the City over its handling of sewage. Once signed by a federal judge, the consent order will require White Plains to repair its system to stop sewage overflows and bring it into compliance with the requirements of the County Sewer Act and the Clean Water Act. Sewage spills cause bacteria contamination and excess nitrogen in local waters.

“We’re pleased that White Plains has committed to fixing and maintaining their sewage system to protect public health in local waters and Long Island Sound.” said Roger Reynolds, chief legal director at Save the Sound. “The repairs White Plains has already begun show the City’s commitment to resolving these issues, and the agreement we’ve reached together will ensure Save the Sound will be able continue to monitor their progress.”

The consent order was submitted to the U.S. District Court on Friday, September 7 for approval. Edan Rotenberg of the Super Law Group, LLC, is lead outside attorney for the plaintiffs.

In 2016, Save the Sound, Soundkeeper, Inc., and Atlantic Clam Farms filed a federal lawsuit against Westchester County and 11 of its municipalities. The plaintiffs charged that the defendant communities have neglected maintenance of and updates to their wastewater pipes and other infrastructure, resulting in sewage overflows from manholes and cracked pipes, and leaks between pipes and groundwater—known as inflow and infiltration—that overload wastewater treatment plants with too much flow.

Settlements were reached with the Villages of Mamaroneck and Port Chester in summer 2017; both have developed plans to repair their systems by 2019 to avoid future Clean Water Act violations.

White Plains has prepared a sewer study, a remediation report and a construction plan over the last year. Together these documents evaluate the current state of the municipality’s wastewater system and identify the steps needed to bring it into compliance.

Under the consent order, White Plains agrees to:

  • Sufficiently remove identified sources of inflow and infiltration from its sewer system by December 31, 2020, to comply with the flow limits of the County Sewer Act; and
  • Meet with the plaintiffs twice a year to provide updates on current repair and maintenance activities and make all their sewer system studies and monitoring information available.

Once signed by the judge, the order is enforceable in federal court and will remain in place until White Plains has completed all required repairs to fix its system by 2020.

Tracy Brown, director of Save the Sound, said, “This consent order will deliver cleaner streams and beaches for the residents of White Plains, and help prevent bacteria-laden backups into streets and basements. We look forward to working with the City to ensure a healthier community and a cleaner Long Island Sound for the future.”

 

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