Published Sept. 12, 2013
A proposed settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice requiring the city of Columbia to spend $750 million on improvements to its sanitary sewer system could offer a business opportunities and new jobs.
“Implementing the terms of the settlement will call for a significant investment in the city's wastewater system,” the city’s Department of Utilities and Engineering said in a press release.
Improvements are included in the city’s Clean Water 2020 infrastructure renewal and upgrade projects will come from the Columbia's water and sewer fund, the department said.
The Clean Water 2020 program is the umbrella for all of the wastewater upgrades that will modernize the city system and prepare it for the future needs, the department added.
“This will also result in opportunities for creating jobs and growing local businesses,” the department said. Local businesses are encouraged to visit the Clean Water 2020 website check on ‘Contract Opportunities’ links.
The settlement, announced Tuesday by U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina Bill Nettles, also involves the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.
The city has been working with the federal and state agencies since 2010 reach a settlement.
The agreement also calls for the city to pay a $500,000 fine for a number of sewer spills and pollution law violations since 2008.
The city also has to spend another $1 million for a supplemental environmental project intended to restore streams, reduce flooding, and improve water quality in segments of Rocky Branch, Smith Branch and Gills Creek, waterways that run through historically low income and minority neighborhoods.