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EPA to Idaho town: Upgrade wastewater facility or face fines

Officials in a small southern Idaho town say they have to convince its 3,300 residents to help cover the cost of a major wastewater treatment upgrade or face federal fines that could bankrupt the local government.

The Times-News reports the Environmental Protection Agency has ordered the city of Heyburn to bring its wastewater treatment plant into compliance with federal regulations or face fines of more than $53,000 a day.

City Administrator Tony Morley said the city must have the improvements completed by 2022. Those improvements are expected to cost between $7 and $8 million, and the city will need a bond to help pay for them. Morley says the fines would likely bankrupt the city, and the timeline for repairs is short.

The city has struggled with compliance at the plant since 2014. The facility has had nearly 600 violations, which occur when the discharge of phosphorus exceeds certain levels.

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