Rep. Dave Wolkins’ (R-Winona Lake) legislation addressing regional water, sewage and solid waste districts and utilities was signed into law by Governor Mitch Daniels on March 16.
House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1117 requires notice and a public hearing before a petition may be filed to establish a regional water, sewage or solid waste district. Additionally, the legislation would allow for a procedure to exist for ratepayers – who are subject to a new district – to object to the initial rates or charges.
HEA 1117 also allows a 10-year exemption for property owners from connecting to the district or utility’s sewer system. Specifically, it allows the property owner to apply for two five-year exemptions if their residential septic system is in accordance with local health department standards.
“We drafted this legislation to ensure that Hoosiers’ health was protected by accounting for the proper and up-to-date management of sewage,” said Rep. Wolkins. “However, it allows the residents of new districts to be involved in the process, so that they are not burdened with excessive fees. It also protects a resident’s right to maintain their own septic systems for up to 10 years, providing that everything is up to code.”
HEA 1117 will go into effect on July 1, 2012.