United States Settles Clean Water Case with Indiana City

The Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state of Indiana have reached an agreement requiring the City of Anderson, Ind., to spend millions to improve the city's sewer system and wastewater treatment plant and to pay a $250,000 fine.

The improvements will significantly reduce pollution discharged to the White River and will improve overall water quality in the river. The settlement resolves a lawsuit alleging multiple violations of the Clean Water Act by Anderson.

The settlement with the city complements an earlier settlement relating to a massive fish kill in the White River. Guide Corp. caused that fish kill by discharging toxic pollutants from its automotive parts production facility in Anderson through the city's sewer system. As part of a June 2001 settlement with the United States and the state of Indiana, Guide agreed to pay $6 million for fish restocking and other restoration projects in and along the White River. The river restoration work being funded by that settlement is ongoing. Officials hope the settlement with Anderson will help promote that restoration effort, both by reducing pollutant discharges to the White River and by improving oversight of industrial dischargers like Guide.

"Like settlements the Justice Department has reached with other communities, this agreement requires Anderson to comply with the law by improving its outdated sewer system and treatment plant," said Tom Sansonetti, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "The sewer system improvements required by the settlement will significantly reduce pollution discharged to the White River and will accelerate its recovery."

According to the complaint filed with the settlement, Anderson illegally discharged untreated and partially treated sewage to the river. The complaint also asserts that Anderson failed to oversee industrial users of its sewer system, as required by law.

"Anderson's commitment to control discharges of raw sewage and upgrade its entire sewer system will have immediate benefits for the White River and long-term benefits for the community," said EPA Regional Administrator Thomas Skinner.

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