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City of Spencer, Iowa, Agrees to Plan for Fixing Sewers

Release Date: 01/28/2009
Contact Information: Chris Whitley, 913-551-7394,

Environmental News


(Kansas City, Kan., Jan. 28, 2009) - EPA Region 7 has reached a legal agreement with the City of Spencer, Iowa, to spend an estimated $32 million to repair its sewer system.

The administrative agreement, approved January 27, sets a schedule for the City of Spencer to complete the separation of its combined sewers, which carry storm water and sanitary sewage. Combined sewer systems will often overflow after heavy rains or snows, allowing untreated sewage to flow into creeks, streams and lakes.

Combined sewer systems are remnants of the country's early infrastructure and are typically found in older communities. Combined sewer systems serve more than 700 U.S. communities, including several in Iowa, and about 40 million people.

"This agreement should produce significant reductions in health risks to the public while making important improvements to the environment," said EPA Region 7 Acting Administrator William Rice. "I commend the City of Spencer and its residents for making this investment in their city."

The agreement calls for the City of Spencer to submit a Sewer System Evaluation Study to EPA by August 2009, and to complete all construction projects necessary to eliminate combined sewer overflows into the Little Sioux River by December 31, 2028.