ILNews

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. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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