After many months of negotiation, Capital Region Water, the city of Harrisburg, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) reached agreement to file a material modification to the 2015 Partial Consent Decree for clean water. This Modification to the Partial Consent Decree will guide Capital Region Water’s wastewater and stormwater work for the next decade. The court filing occurred today in Federal District Court in Harrisburg. Capital Region Water looks forward to meeting its clean water obligations, as it has since its inception, and ensuring that customers and stakeholders are partners in the process.

“Capital Region Water has not wavered from its commitment to clean water in and around Harrisburg,” said Capital Region Water CEO Charlotte Katzenmoyer. “The compliance milestones and projects identified in the Modification to the Partial Consent Decree will ensure compliance with wet weather targets, but it’s not the end goal. We encourage public comment now and will continue to provide various opportunities for the public to provide input on a larger plan to control combined sewer overflow events, which are a symptom of our dated, aging infrastructure.”

A consent decree (sometimes called a consent order) is a formal agreement created to resolve a dispute without fault. It’s a court order that establishes an enforceable plan for improvement. In 2015, after decades of infrastructure neglect and inaction by previous city administrations, a formal complaint against CRW and the city of Harrisburg and an agreed-upon Partial Consent Decree were filed in court. The 2015 Partial Consent Decree required specific compliance measures to control discharges from the sewer system, which consists of the combined and separate sanitary sewer collection systems, conveyance and treatment systems, and the municipal separate stormwater sewer system (MS4) within the city of Harrisburg. The intent of the Partial Consent Decree was to allow sufficient time for Capital Region Water to develop an approvable long-term plan; however, it was acknowledged that the inherited system suffered from decades of neglect and disinvestment.

This Modification to the Partial Consent Decree is drafted to address alleged violations of the Clean Water Act and Pennsylvania’s Clean Streams Law, primarily due to sewer overflows and the discharge of polluted stormwater, and incorporates steps that are being taken and will be taken to achieve baseline conditions for an acceptable Long-Term Control Plan. The goal remains the same – improved water quality and implementation of defined compliance measures. 

After the Modification is filed in court, notice will be provided in the Federal Register, and customers and stakeholders will have a 30-day public comment period to provide comment on the Modification to the Partial Consent Decree. Please visit for further details.

After consideration of public comments and any final changes, the partner agencies, led by DOJ, will ask the court to approve and enter the Modification to the Partial Consent Decree. When the court grants this motion, the Consent Decree will be final.

Capital Region Water will continue to report progress on a semi-annual basis. Information will be available through the website and associated public notification procedures. For more details on the City Beautiful H2O Program Plan, CRW’s integrated plan to restore failing infrastructure, reduce combined sewer discharges, improve the health of local waterways, and beautify our neighborhoods through community greening, please visit our website at:

To Submit Formal Comment:

Public Comment Period:

Members of the public have an opportunity to review and comment on the plan until March 20, 2023.

Department of Justice website:

Comments can be submitted via:


Mail: Assistant Attorney General, U.S. DOJ—ENRD, P.O. Box 7611, Washington, D.C. 20044–7611.

Comments should be addressed to the Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, and should refer to United States and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection v. Capital Region Water and City of Harrisburg, D.J. Ref. No. 90–5–1–1–10157.

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