Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

City's Sewer Plan Still Clogged ; EPA Wants Faster Plan; Mayor Seeks Fair Cost

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

City's Sewer Plan Still Clogged ; EPA Wants Faster Plan; Mayor Seeks Fair Cost

Article excerpt

INDIANAPOLIS - A meeting Thursday between Evansville officials and federal regulators over the city's rejected plan to reduce the number of combined sewer overflows was "contentious," Mayor Lloyd Winnecke said afterward.

The feds still believe Evansville's plan falls short of what should be done to eliminate untreated sewage from going into the Ohio River and Pigeon Creek during periods of heavy rainfall.

Federal and state agencies have rejected the city's $540 million plan to end combined sewage and stormwater runoffs over 28 years. They want the city to end those runoffs in a shorter time.

City officials say their plan would reduce the number of annual combined sewer overflow events from about 50 to fewer than 12, and increase the capture of overflow volume from 35 percent to 92 percent.

The overflows occur because some older sewer lines collect both stormwater runoff and effluent from plumbing. During periods of heavy rain, when volume becomes greater than waste water treatment facilities can process, the excess is discharged untreated into the streams.

Winnecke said Thursday's discussion with representatives of the U.S.

Environmental Protection Agency produced no breakthroughs.

"(EPA officials) have indicated we can do more, and with that would come a higher cost. What that is, we don't know yet," Winnecke said.

EPA officials were not available for comment.

Based on Thursday's meeting, Winnecke said the city will have ongoing technical discussions to try and better understand differences between the city's plan and what EPA wants. City Attorney Ted Ziemer Jr. and Water and Sewer Utility Director Allen Mounts also attended.

Winnecke said the EPA is standing firm on its requirement that the city have zero overflows, and "I would tell you that is as big of a difference as it is between the two sides at this point. …

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