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IDEM halts Huntertown wastewater permit

Huntertown’s request to build a new $11.2 million wastewater treatment plant has been tentatively denied by the state.

In addition to citing pollution concerns with the proposed plant, officials from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management also said the town has an adequate, working system already in place with the city of Fort Wayne.

IDEM issued the permit denial Tuesday, which states, “The activity that would cause the lowering of water quality is not necessary because cost-effective measures that would prevent the proposed lowering of water quality are reasonably available by continuing to send their sanitary wastewater to the City of Fort Wayne.”

Huntertown officials, in response to rapid growth and substantial rate hikes from Fort Wayne City Utilities, are hoping to build and operate their own plant. They plan to break ties with Fort Wayne City Utilities, which has provided the town with sewer service since 1988. Huntertown contracts with City Utilities, paying $952,139 annually to process its waste. That contract will expire in April.

A statement issued today by City Utilities officials said they believe IDEM has taken appropriate action with the conditional denial as it will give residents yet another opportunity to comment on the proposal.

The conditional denial reiterates what Huntertown residents have been saying – that a continued relationship with City Utilities is an affordable option and that further environmental degradation that would result from a Huntertown sewage treatment plant is not necessary, said officials at City Utilities.

They recently sent letters to Huntertown suggesting a meeting to discuss the issue, and said they have yet to receive a reply, according to the statement.

Huntertown has 30 days to appeal the conditional denial.

vsade@jg.net

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