Indiana cities trying to pay for stormwater mandates

Sewage fees rise sharply as communities cope with compliance

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Stormwater mandates have been making the news this fall across Indiana. Decatur is expecting a 50 percent increase in sewage fees in the next three years. In Richmond, local officials have estimated a 61 percent increase in coming years. Clarksville expects  increases of 50 to 65 percent to fund $26.3 million in project costs.

Richmond is in the beginning stages of separating its combined sanitary and storm sewers based on a legal agreement it has reached with the state and federal governments. Sanitary district officials have estimated the total cost at $84 million.

Decatur plans to increase the sewer fee 41 percent this year, costing the average user about $40 a month, to help pay off $3 million on bonds to separate its combined sewer system over the next three years. This is happening all over Indiana and the country with increasing state and EPA regulations.

The Decatur Daily Democrat reports that city officials are expecting more changes in the future, quoting Bill Karbach of the Board of Works and Safety as saying, “They tell us what to do and we have to do it. But we don't get any help from them.”



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