Created: Tue, 10 Sep 2013 11:16:00 EST
Updated: Tue, 10 Sep 2013 01:26:09 EST
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Federal and state officials say the city of Columbia has agreed to upgrade its sewer system at an estimated cost of $750 million to stop raw sewage from spilling into waterways. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Justice Department and the state's health agency jointly announced Tuesday that Columbia also has agreed to spend about $1 million to improve water quality and reduce flooding in waterways that run through poor, minority neighborhoods. The city also pledges to manage the sewer system to prevent future overflows. U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles says Columbia officials are taking responsibility for the city's aging sewer treatment system. The $750 million cost includes projects already under way. The proposed consent decree has been filed in federal court, beginning a 30-day public comment period.