STATEHOUSE—Rep. Dave Wolkins’ (R-Winona Lake) legislation addressing regional water, sewage and solid waste districts passed the Indiana House of Representatives with a 76-20 vote today.
House Bill (HB) 1117 would establish a public hearing before a petition may be filed to establish a regional water, sewage or solid waste district. By allowing a public hearing, the legislation gives the public the opportunity to object to initial rates and charges imposed by the districts.
The bill would also allow for an exemption for residences or businesses located on at least 10 acres of land that can provide evidence of collection and treatment of sewage that is not hazardous to human health and the environment. Similarly, property owners would be able to file for unlimited five-year extensions allowing them to manage their own sewage disposal system apart from the district, providing it is not in disrepair.
“This legislation addresses very important issues,” said Rep. Wolkins. “We need to ensure that sewage is being managed in a way that does not adversely affect the environment and human health, but the public needs to be involved in the establishment of such districts.
“I am glad there are Hoosier-friendly provisions for public action and exemptions included within this legislation. It’s a measure to protect property owners’ rights.”
HB 1117 now heads to the Senate for further discussion. If passed into law, HB 1117 will take effect on July 1, 2012.