Houston to follow decree, make $2B in upgrades to wastewater system
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas approved a consent decree between the city of Houston, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the State of Texas to improve Houston’s wastewater system.
Under the decree, an estimated $2 billion of additional work will go toward upgrading Houston’s aging wastewater system and keeping up with the city’s growing population. This investment will enable the city to reduce sanitary sewer overflows, protect public health and the environment, comply with federal and state laws and regulations, and improve the wastewater system for the long term.
The goal of the consent decree is to protect the environment and human health and improve the wastewater system for future generations. Low-income communities with higher numbers of sanitary sewer overflows and aging infrastructure will be among the first priorities.
Entry of the consent decree allows the city to formalize and build upon its ongoing work by devoting the necessary funds to continue wastewater assessment and rehabilitation programs over the next 15 years. A rate study being performed will account for any impacts on wastewater rates due to these improvements.
Houston’s wastewater system is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the nation, with approximately 6,000 miles of wastewater pipes, 382 lift stations, and 39 wastewater treatment plants.