A bill which would
significantly impede the review and enforcement authority of MS4 programs
remains in play in the General Assembly.
So Chesterton MS4
Operator Jennifer Gadzala reported to the Stormwater Management Board at its
meeting Monday night.
by State Rep. Doug Miller, R-Elkhart--was passed by the House on Feb. 5, 68
votes to 27, and forwarded to the Senate. On Feb. 27 it was referred on
first reading to the Senate Committee on Environmental Affairs.
The bill is
somewhat less onerous on amendment than it was as drafted by Miller. In its
original form, H.B. 1266 would have required MS4 departments to complete a
preliminary review of a builder’s Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP)
within 48 hours of its being submitted. As amended, MS4 departments must
complete their review of a SWPPPP “before the end of the fifth working day
after the day” on which the SWPPP was submitted.
Still, Gadzala told
the board, even five working days are far too short a window in which to
adquately review a SWPPP.
More: under the
older version of the bill, once an MS4 department had conclusively approved
a builder’s SWPPP, it could not stop work on the grounds that the
erosion and sediment control measures detailed in the SWPPP are inadequate.
As amended, an MS4
department may stop work after approving a builder’s SWPPP, but only
after notifying the builder in writing of inadequacies in the erosion
and sedimental control measures, and only after the builder fails to
resolve those inadequacies within 72 hours of receiving written
It’s hard to escape
the conclusion, President Tom Kokpo suggested, that the bill’s intention is
to gut MS4 authority.
“There’s a big
drive from the ag community to push this through,” Gadzala noted. “A lot of
MS4 communities have been talking to Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes,
about it. So she’s very familiar with what’s being modified.
Gadzala added that
the Hoosier Environmental Council has taken a strong position against H.B.
For the record, the
bill’s author, State Rep. Miller--according to his official website--is
managing partner of Tailor Made Homes LLC and owner of Creekside Realty LLC
and White Pines Properties LLC, is seated on the Board of Directors of the
Builders Association of Elkhart County, and holds a life membership in the
Indiana Builders Association.
Meanwhile, a bill
which would, if enacted, have significantly cut the town’s stormwater fee
revenues by exempting churches and schools appears to be dead in the water,
H.B. 477 has been
in committee since Jan. 15 and has not moved, she said. “I don’t see this
one going anywhere at this point.”
For the record,
enactment of H.B. 477 would have resulted in the loss of approximately
$27,800 in annual revenues: $4,300 from churches and another $23,000 from
the Duneland School Corporation, the latter of which is the Stormwater
Utility’s largest customer.
Sign of Spring
In other business,
Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg reported that the Street Department’s
two street sweepers will soon be re-commissioned for spring cleaning duties.
February in Review
In February the
Stormwater Utility ran a surplus of $22,031 and in the year-to-date is
running a deposit of $26,863.