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EPA reaches San Francisco Bay pollution settlement

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A San Francisco Bay Area water agency and six cities it serves have agreed to pay $1.5 million in fines to settle allegations that they allowed raw or partially treated sewage to flow into the bay.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said the penalties are part of a settlement to a lawsuit it brought five years ago against the cities and the East Bay Municipal Utility District.

Under the deal announced Monday, the water district and the cities of Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland and Piedmont also agreed to invest an estimated $1.5 billion over the next 21 years to upgrade their aging sewer systems to prevent future spills.

According to the EPA, about 1.1 billion gallons of sewage was either forced out of manholes during storms or illegally discharged from the water districts between 2009 and last year.

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