Improving Indiana's Sewer System

Great news for Indiana! The EPA and Indiana have teamed up to get the sewer systems upgraded and stop polluting the St. Joe River.

Indiana and EPA sign deal to improve sewer system

The US city of South Bend has signed an agreement with the country’s attorney’s office and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address Clean Water Act violations in addition to improving the sewer system in the state of Indiana.

South Bend has agreed to spend $509.5m to improve its combined sewer system to reduce overflows of raw sewage to the St Joseph River, which flows into Lake Michigan. The improvements will provide major public health and environmental benefits.

The city discharged some two billion gallons of untreated sewage into the St Joseph River in 80 separate events the past year.

After implementing the improvements, the city expects to reduce the amount of raw sewage discharges by 95%, to just four during a typical year of rainfall. It also predicts that the reduced discharges will result in preventing more than 700,000 pollutants from entering the St Joseph River each year.

South Bend’s sewage collection system consists of approximately 550 miles of pipe, transporting stormwater, sewage, and other pollutants to the city’s wastewater treatment plant (WWTP).

The Justice Department and EPA said that South Bend’s combined sewer overflows violated the Clean Water Act because they exceeded limitations and conditions in the area’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits during the relevant time periods.

The settlement requires South Bend to pay a civil penalty of $88,200 for those Clean Water Act violations, which will be divided equally between the governments of the US and the state of Indiana.

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