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City agrees to comply with Clean Water Act

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Faced with hefty fines of more than $27,000 a day for violating the federal Clean Water Act, the city of Jeffersonville has reached a settlement with the federal and Indiana governments, the Department of Justice, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The settlement resolved long-standing problems with sewer overflows into the Ohio River and local streams.

The United States filed a suit simultaneously with the consent decree, alleging the city was discharging more pollution into local waterways than allowed by existing permits. In the suit, the U.S. was seeking between $27,500 and $37,500 per day for each violation of the CWA. The state was seeking $25,000 per day for each violation.

The suit and consent decree come as a result of violations to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits issued to the city in 1999 and 2006. Jeffersonville's sewer system would carry overflow into streams and rivers when swollen with heavy rain or melted snow. Jeffersonville, the Department of Justice, the EPA, Indiana Attorney General, and state and federal governments have been negotiating a settlement for several years after the EPA and Indiana Department of Environmental Management investigated Jeffersonville.

In the decree, Jeffersonville agreed to develop and implement a long-term plan to prevent discharges of untreated wastewater by April 1, 2010. The city has until 2020 or 2025 to eliminate overflows to the Ohio River where feasible, as well as update and improve its sewer systems.

Jeffersonville agreed to pay a $49,500 civil penalty to the U.S. and $8,250 to the state. The state reduced its civil penalty from $82,500 provided the city completes supplemental environmental projects.

The total costs to upgrade the systems are estimated between $100 million and $150 million.

The consent decree is subject to a 30-day public-comment period and approval by the federal court. The decree can be found on the Department of Justice's Web site.

Jeffersonville took the initiative to try to fix the sewer-overflow problems, and was extremely cooperative throughout the negotiation process and negotiated in good faith, said Indiana Attorney General spokesperson Bryan Corbin.

The consent decree and suit were filed Thursday afternoon in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division.

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  1. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  2. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  3. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  4. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  5. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

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