On Wednesday, February 13, a heavily modified version of HB1497 regarding sewers was passed out of the Environmental Affairs Committee by a vote of 10-2. A corresponding SB205 will be heard in committee on Monday, where only amendments will be allowed. No testimony will be heard.
What was modified?
It appears that the worst parts of the original HB1497 have been removed altogether, including board member elections, elimination of the power to assert liens, the establishment of an overly broad connection exemption, the establishment of a disconnection approval process, as well as several other provisions. It will also tighten the definition of a sewage disposal system and it will not include cesspools, privies, etc. Additional notice requirements are added for a district that is forming or expanding a sewer system. It allows a ratepayer who is not a property owner to serve on a sewer district board. It clarifies the definition of what constitutes a failing septic system as well as a qualified septic system inspector. It also provides for a counter-petition process whereby if potentially affected property owners can obtain signatures from a majority, the original petition to IDEM to form a district or system will be cancelled.
How is this helpful?
The bill should clarify and strengthen the rules around the creation and operation of regional sewer districts in Indiana.
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