- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 7, 2015

FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) - Fort Smith agrees to make almost $500 million in improvements to its sewer system to eliminate federal Clean Water Act violations.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1CbB8G6 ) reports a federal judge signed a consent decree Monday to approve the agreement that involves the city, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice.

The 12-year period Fort Smith has to complete some of the improvements began Jan. 2 when the 111-page decree was filed. According to the assistant city administrator, the clock for the other requirements began when the judge signed the decree.

City directors are expected to consider an ordinance Tuesday that would raise sewer rates three times over the next 20 months to help fund the improvements.

A Fort Smith consulting firm calculated that the typical household would see its bill rise from $19.63 a month to $32.83 due to the first round of increases.

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Information from: Northwest Arkansas Times, https://www.nwaonline.com

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