What is a Consent Decree?
A consent decree is a binding agreement between two parties to correct or cease certain conduct. In this context, it is an agreement between the U.S. EPA and the City of Jackson to overhaul and rehabilitate our wastewater infrastructure in order to meet increasingly stringent water quality regulations. EPA has imposed more than 90 consent decrees nationwide, most of these being the result of sewer overflows. When wastewater systems overflow, pollutants can be discharged into nearby rivers and streams, a violation of the Clean Water Act.
Due to high concentrations of development as well as the age of our City and our infrastructure, Jackson has negotiated a consent decree with the EPA in order to meet Clean Water Act standards and reduce the pollution of our public waters. This agreement was finalized on March 1, 2013. As set forth in the consent decree, Jackson has agreed to make major infrastructure improvements to its sewer system to ensure that sewer overflows are substantially reduced or eliminated. The City is accomplishing these infrastructure improvements through J|FLOW Jackson: Fixing Leaks and Overflowing Wastewater. While funding infrastructure improvements is always a challenge for any local government, the City of Jackson is working hard to address the goals of the consent decree to ensure that we do our part to maintain a healthy environment.