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Regional Sewer Districts and IDEM Bruno Pigott Assistant Commissioner Office of Water Quality September 22, 2009 The Indiana Department of Environmental.

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Presentation on theme: "Regional Sewer Districts and IDEM Bruno Pigott Assistant Commissioner Office of Water Quality September 22, 2009 The Indiana Department of Environmental."— Presentation transcript:

1 Regional Sewer Districts and IDEM Bruno Pigott Assistant Commissioner Office of Water Quality September 22, 2009 The Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s Role with Districts 1

2 Water Quality Authority Federal Clean Water Act is the basis for many of the water quality programs Water quality programs are designed to keep pollutants out of our water All Indiana waters are designated for full use (fish, swim and drink) 2

3 Water Quality -Permitting In order to protect the quality and use of water, IDEM issues permits limiting water discharges Issues National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits to limit pollutants in waterways (over 1600 facilities) Issues permits for construction of sewer plants and sewer lines Issues permits for storm water runoff 3

4 Water Quality - Compliance In order for permits to be effective, IDEM verifies compliance with permit requirements Compliance inspections Complaint inspections Review routine testing results Self-reporting of a permit exceedance 4

5 Water Quality - Concerns Watershed improvement projects and routine water assessments reveal e. coli Local Health Departments contact IDEM for assistance with impaired streams Residents call to complain about odor or sewage in streams or ponding on property Septic systems are not IDEM’s jurisdiction Water quality standards are IDEM’s jurisdiction 5

6 Regional District Formation IC governs the formation of Districts to provide Drinking Water, Waste Water and Solid Waste removal Units of local government petition IDEM to form a District Local fiscal body must authorize the petition and local executive body receives a copy 6

7 Regional District Formation Petition sent to IDEM must cover a check-list of items in statute, such as: – statement of purpose, financing, coverage territory, etc. IDEM reviews content for compliance with law IDEM holds a hearing in the community IDEM issues an order 7

8 Commissioner issues an order to form a District if the petition – complies with law, and – appears capable of achieving stated purpose The content of the order is determined by statute Commissioner has limited jurisdiction mostly focused on formation of Districts Regional District Order of Formation 8

9 9

10 Requests to IDEM Water quality concerns like septage in waters may result in IDEM taking an enforcement action Local governments addressing water quality concerns often seek assistance to understand the law Residents raise concerns about not getting a response to septage in yards or in ditches 10

11 Assistance to Communities IDEM spends non-permit resources on Districts – One full time staff helps communities understand how districts form and operate – Legal staff reviews formation petitions – Compliance staff receive reports of sewage in streams, investigate and refer cases to local health – For just one District, staff responded to over 50 concerns. All of those complaints were outside of IDEM’s jurisdiction. 11

12 Common Complaints IDEM has no jurisdiction, but receives calls about: Sewer fees, connection expenses and liens Appointment/Election of the District board District territory expansion District forcing connection District won’t allow connection Behavior of District board members 12

13 IDEM Observations Most of the conflicts are raised by a few Districts Conflicts are the results of local decisions Those few Districts consume too many State resources Current statute is a confusing tangle of requirements Improved clarity in the authority and responsibility for the District formation and subsequent decisions 13

14 IDEM Wish List Remove IDEM from local disputes Provide clear authority for IDEM to hold someone accountable for water pollution related to septage Provide a clear legal path for petitions and subsequent authority and responsibility for decisions IDEM retains the permitting and compliance duties 14

15 Questions? Brad Baughn Legislative Liaison


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