Save the Dunes continues to work on minimizing the negative impacts of Senate Enrolled Act 431, passed earlier this year by the Indiana General Assembly. The bill promises relief to municipalities that discharge raw sewage through Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) during wet weather. It also provides relief from enforcement if communities are developing and implementing their Long Term Control Plan (required by the Environmental Protection Agency). We have joined with several other environmental organizations working with an attorney to explore possible legal strategies to challenge SEA 431. Simultaneously, Save the Dunes’ Tom Anderson is serving on the Wet Weather Technical Advisory Group, an outgrowth of SEA 431 charged with developing state policy for communities with CSOs. There are 106 communities in Indiana with CSOs, over 12% of the nation’s total! Each sanitary district with CSOs is required to develop a Long Term Control Plan (LTCP), which identifies the Nine Minimum Controls (NMCs) needed to satisfy EPA , and would form the basis for the Use Attainability Analysis (UAA).
The UAA would allow suspending “Designated Uses” and allow more pollution into the waterways. However, the purpose of a UAA is to outline steps needed to to restore the designated use and improve water quality. There is a big argument over what are “Existing” or “Designated” uses, although we are sure the Clean Water Act is clear on this issue. There are some that would like to say there are no “existing” uses and therefore they can suspend all designated uses. Our proposed legal action challenging SEA 431 is all the more important given the current direction of the policy guidance.
Save the Dunes Conservation Fund 444 Barker Road
Michigan City, IN 46360