Re: Waste Not, Want Not

Cynthia Magnuson at the Department of Justice just e-mailed us a copy of the consent decree regarding the city of Dallas' violations of the Clean Water Act, which contains a few more specifics than the press release mentioned below. We'll read it a little more closely tonight (wow, what an astoundingly exciting life this has become), but here are a few of the details concerning the construction of the two new wetlands areas:

The Pavaho Storm Water Wetland, which will be a 60-plus-acre area along the Trinity River downstream of Sylvan Avenue, will cost the city no less than $675,000. The feds have told the city to "create habitat for wetland flora and fauna, including habitat that can be maintained during dry cycles." Same goes for the Zoo Storm Water Wetland, which will run upwards of $525,000.

For every day the city doesn't pay the $800,000 it now owes the federal treasury in civil penalties, it will have to pay the government $1,000 per day. It doesn't say, or I didn't see where it does, when the city has to fork over the cash. Also, there are significant penalties that increase exponentially if Dallas falls into noncompliance with the consent decree; for instance, for every missed inspection of a fueling or vehicle maintenance operation facility, the city owes $400, and should it happen more than 25 times, it bumps to $1,000 for every missed inspection. And should the city fail to construct the wetlands, it will owe about $150,000 for each, plus other penalties. So it's in the city's best interest to get cracking, or else it'll start paying. More than the $3.5 mil it owes already, that is. --Robert Wilonsky

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