The U.S. Department of Justice says two northwest Indiana towns have agreed to improve their sewer systems to settle federal cases against them. The Justice Department says the Sanitary District of Highland and the town of Griffith will invest nearly $100 million in new infrastructure to eliminate discharges of untreated sewage from their sewer systems into nearby water bodies, including the Little Calumet River.
In addition, the Justice Department says Highland will pay a civil penalty of $175,000 and Griffith will pay $33,000.
“Highland and Griffith are part of an area of northwest Indiana historically overburdened by pollution. These infrastructure improvements will prevent untreated sewage from entering the region’s waterbodies, thereby improving water quality as well as the quality of life for the people who live here,” said Acting Assistant Administrator Larry Starfield of the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.
The federal government says Highland’s sewage system overflowed on 257 days since 2012 and eventually ended-up in the Little Calumet River. The complaint also alleges that Griffith discharged sewage into a wetland adjacent to the Little Calumet River on 16 days since 2013.
The DOJ says both communities failed to comply with previous orders by EPA to stop these illegal discharges.
Click here to view the consent decree