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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. Paul Ogden doing a fine job of remembering his peer Gary Welsh with the post below and a call for an Indy gettogether to celebrate Gary .... http://www.ogdenonpolitics.com/2016/05/indiana-loses-citizen-journalist-giant.html Castaways of Indiana, unite!

  2. It's unfortunate that someone has attempted to hijack the comments to promote his own business. This is not an article discussing the means of preserving the record; no matter how it's accomplished, ethics and impartiality are paramount concerns. When a party to litigation contracts directly with a reporting firm, it creates, at the very least, the appearance of a conflict of interest. Court reporters, attorneys and judges are officers of the court and must abide by court rules as well as state and federal laws. Parties to litigation have no such ethical responsibilities. Would we accept insurance companies contracting with judges? This practice effectively shifts costs to the party who can least afford it while reducing costs for the party with the most resources. The success of our justice system depends on equal access for all, not just for those who have the deepest pockets.

  3. As a licensed court reporter in California, I have to say that I'm sure that at some point we will be replaced by speech recognition. However, from what I've seen of it so far, it's a lot farther away than three years. It doesn't sound like Mr. Hubbard has ever sat in a courtroom or a deposition room where testimony is being given. Not all procedures are the same, and often they become quite heated with the ends of question and beginning of answers overlapping. The human mind can discern the words to a certain extent in those cases, but I doubt very much that a computer can yet. There is also the issue of very heavy accents and mumbling. People speak very fast nowadays, and in order to do that, they generally slur everything together, they drop or swallow words like "the" and "and." Voice recognition might be able to produce some form of a transcript, but I'd be very surprised if it produces an accurate or verbatim transcript, as is required in the legal world.

  4. Really enjoyed the profile. Congratulations to Craig on living the dream, and kudos to the pros who got involved to help him realize the vision.

  5. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

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