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San Antonio Water System Negotiates $1.1 Billion Clean Water Act Settlement

On Tuesday, July 23, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the State of Texas lodged in federal district court in San Antonio a proposed consent decree with the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) resolving claims regarding sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs). SAWS is a public utility owned by the City of San Antonio, providing sewage treatment and wastewater services to the city.

Karen M. Hansen, a Principal in Beveridge & Diamond’s Texas office, led the Firm’s team that represented SAWS. The team also included Washington office Principal and former EPA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement & Compliance Assurance, Steve Herman.

This negotiated Clean Water Act (CWA) Consent Decree represents the latest settlement in the federal government’s longstanding “wet weather” enforcement initiative. SAWS will spend approximately $1 billion over the 12 year term of the consent decree on various SSO reduction measures including focused inspection, cleaning and testing of pipe in the sewer collection system and targeted capital programs focused on SSOs casued by verified condition and capacity issues. SAWS already has reduced its sewage spills by 30 percent since adopting a remediation plan more than two years ago. Read the SAWS statement here.

© 2020 Beveridge & Diamond PC National Law Review, Volume III, Number 210


About this Author

Karen M. Hansen Water Regulation Attorney Beveridge & Diamond Austin, TX

Karen Hanson’s practice focuses on the Clean Water Act and state programs for regulating and permitting water discharges and water supply/use, and on environmental, health, and safety audit review and implementation. 

She has extensive experience assisting industrial and municipal clients in preparing strategies for and pursuing water permits for ongoing operations, expansions and new operations, including permit challenges. Karen also represents clients that must defend CWA and state water law enforcement actions, including claims pursued by governmental as well as third party...