A federal judge last week approved the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District’s $2.7 billion consent decree with federal authorities, bringing to a close a nearly five-year old lawsuit over clean-water violations.

“Although MSD and its ratepayers will incur substantial costs by implementing the proposed consent decree, this cost will be offset by the public benefit that will be gained through infrastructure improvements and compliance with” federal clean water rules, Judge Carol E. Jackson wrote in her order.

The agency is seeking voter approval for $945 million of bonding authority as it embarks on projects in a four-year, $1.9 billion capital program. The plan is part of the larger $4.7 billion series of projects anticipated over the next two decades under the consent degree with federal authorities.

The settlement resolves claims brought by federal and state authorities and environmental groups against the sewer district in 2007, alleging violations of federal clean-water laws for allowing untreated sewage to seep into area waterways and the ground. 

MSD’s ratings range from the high double-As to triple-A.

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