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New bill would ban cities from dumping in the Maumee River

The new legislation comes after the city of Maumee revealed it had been dumping 150 million gallons of sewage per year for 20 years.
Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 4:11 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 23, 2021 at 4:43 PM EDT
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MAUMEE, Ohio (WTVG) - A new bill in the Ohio legislature seeks to ban cities and towns in the state from dumping sewage into the Maumee River and would place stiff penalties on any violation. The move follows revelations earlier this month that the city of Maumee has been dumping as much as 150 million gallons of sewage per year into the river for the past 20 years due to problems with the sewage system.

That dumping will now cost residents of the city more than $100 million in improvements to the sewage system to prevent it from happening in the future. The funds will be raised by sharp increases to water bills, which are set to rise 40% next month. The city was also fined nearly $30,000 by the Environmental Protection Agency.

According to city leaders earlier in July, a city worker came forward about the issue about eight months ago and said he had been told not to discuss it. Mayor Rich Carr says he immediately told the law director to report the problem.

Maumee is legally allowed to dump up to 25 million gallons of sewage into the river, thanks to an agreement between the city and the EPA in 1984 but any overages must be immediately reported to the agency. The mayor told 13abc that no one in the city had done that.

The new legislation, which is sponsored by Rep. Jon Cross, would take a zero tolerance policy and would fine municipalities $250,000 for a first offense, plus a daily fine of $1,000 for ongoing dumping. An additional fine of $1 million would be added for dumping that exceeds 100 million gallons in a 12 month period.

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