City puts EPA, DOJ waste water problems behind them
Wednesday, December 04, 2013 9:00 PM
The City of Crawfordsville, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have approved a document that will end the threat of heavy fines against the City.
The consent decree closes the books on the EPA's charges the City's waste water system was not in compliance with EPA standards.
On Feb. 27, 2012, "we became aware that the Environmental Protection Agency and United States Department of Justice made a formal inquiry and information request regarding testing and reporting issues in the city's waste water treatment plant," stated a press release from Mayor Todd Barton's office in March 2012.
The issue was higher than allowed copper levels in the City's waste water treatment plant and the way those levels had been monitored.
The issue resulted in Barton firing then Waste Water Superintendent Tom Mitchell after Barton learned the EPA had contacted the City about the same matter "a multiple number of times since the mid-1990s, but that the City has failed to handle this matter as required by previous legal proceedings."
The mayor told The Paper, "These people are serious and this could have serious consequences for the city."
The City then took a number of steps to bring the waste water system into compliance with the EPA.
On Wednesday, the Board of Public Works and Safety signed off on a 32-page Consent Decree with the EPA and the Department of Justice on a 3-0 vote with Erin Corbin, Susan Albrecht and Barton in agreement.
"This is a great result for the City," said attorney Kent Minnette. "This avoids enforcement action and (shows) great work by the mayor."
"We're ready to put this behind us," Barton said. "The problems have been dealt with."
In other business, the board:
-Joined the Utility Service Board and the Accelplus Building Corporation in approving a Memorandum of Understanding with Metronet to purchase Accelplus for $5.2 million in a deal that will pay bondholders 37 cents on the dollar they have invested (3-0.)
-Approved a lift station transfer agreement between the City of Crawfordsville, Montgomery County and the Boys & Girls Club. The lift station was built when the Boys & Girls Club was built on Whitlock Avenue. When the new jail was built near that location on Memorial Drive, problems began with sewage from the jail (3-0.)
-Approved a request from the Code Enforcement Officer Barry Lewis to proceed with enforcement action again the owner of the old match factory on Elmore Street. Lewis said there has been "very little, if any movement" in cleaning up the property after the factory was demolished (3-0.)
Street Department Superintendent Scott Hesler announced the yard waste site on Whitlock Avenue will be closed for the season on Dec. 15.
He asked residents to have all leaves raked to the curb by Sunday. It is difficult to pick up the leaves when they are mixed with snow and ice, he said.