If you have a spare $1.1 billion sitting around your house, the San Antonio Water System would like to borrow it for a bit.
1200 WOAI news reports that's how much SAWS is obligated to spend over the coming 12 years on upgrades to its decaying sewer system, under a consent decree to settle a lawsuit filed against SAWS over it's repeated sewer spills.
The action was taken by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency after SAWS spilled 23 million gallons of raw sewage into local waterways in 2200 sewer spills and overflows over the past six years.
"This settlement will help protect San Antonio residents from exposure to raw sewage as well as long term improvement in the operation, management, and maintenance of its system," Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and
and Natural Resources said.
SAWS has been concerned about its decaying and overstressed sewer system for some time. The EPA says in addition to old lines, the 5100 miles of sewer lines that snake under metro San Antonio are also simply overwhelmed by the region's flash rainfall.
SAWS says the money to pay for the massive repairs have already been factored into future planned water rate increases. The plan must be fully implemented, under the consent decree, by 2025.
In addition to the $1.1 billion sewer upgrade, SAWS ratepayers will have to pay a $2.5 million civil penalty because SAWS officials allowed the situation to go on for so long without taking action. That money will be split between federal and state environmental agencies.