Chapter Asserts That Indiana Violates Clean Water Act
The Hoosier Chapter has challenged the validity of Indiana’s rules regarding permits for storm water discharges from municipalities. Storm water contains many pollutants, including toxics, which degrade the quality of Indiana’s recreational waters.
The rules authorize the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to issue National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits to hundreds of municipalities that operated or will operate storm water sewer systems that discharge into the waters of the state. The rule is called the “MS4 General Permit Rule.”
Since August 2003, when the MS4 General Permit Rule became effective, IDEM has issued hundreds of NPDES permits to municipalities. Overall, the Hoosier Chapter is pleased to see these long-unpermitted discharges come under the purview of the NPDES permitting program. Requiring municipalities to reduce the pollutants discharged to our waters is a major step.
Unfortunately, the club believes that Indiana has violated the Clean Water Act. The club alleges three specific violations:
The club petitioned the Indiana Office of Environmental Adjudication to determine whether the Indiana Water Pollution Control Board (WPCB) acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner when it adopted the MS4 General Permit Rule. Club members Bruce and Kathy McCoy of Angola joined the petition. The McCoys had submitted comments on a permit application by the City of Angola and Tri-State University, but IDEM indicated that it was unable to consider the comments pursuant to Indiana’s MS4 General Permit Rule.
The litigation is scheduled for a hearing in January. The club is asking that the Environmental Law Judge do the following:
Editor’s note: Tom Neltner is the attorney handling the case for the chapter and the McCoys on a pro bono basis. You can contact him at (317) 442-3973 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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