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The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) is responsible for ensuring that Hoosiers have an adequate supply of safe drinking water. The agency carries out this responsibility by requiring each of Indiana's Public Water Systems (PWS) to comply with all federal and state drinking water rules and regulations. Complying with these complex state and federal regulations requires significant effort and resources from the drinking water providers. Likewise, ensuring compliance with the regulations also requires a significant investment from IDEM. Because of recent additional federal regulations and new regulations that will soon be implemented, requiring even more IDEM resources, the 2003 General Assembly established new fees, which are designed to produce revenue from the PWSs being regulated that will support the IDEM drinking water program.
All PWSs, including community, non-transient non-community and transient noncommunity, are required to pay fees under this new program.
"Community" water systems serve about 860 cities and towns, mobile home parks and subdivisions or homeowner associations outside of a city or town that provide water for the same population throughout the year."Non-transient non-community" water systems serve nearly 706 schools, childcare facilities, institutions and offices or businesses with 25 or more students or employees, and they provide water for the same population at least six months out of the year.
"Transient non-community" water systems serve approximately 2888 restaurants, motels, churches, campgrounds and businesses with less than 25 employees, and these systems provide drinking water for the public at least 60 days out of the year.
The fee program will become effective for all PWSs on January 1, 2004. The annual fee due each year will be phased in over a three year period:In 2004, each PWS will be notified shortly after July 1 and pay 1/3 of the fee established by the legislation.
In 2005, each PWS will be notified shortly after July 1 and pay 2/3 of the fee established by the legislation.
In 2006, and each year thereafter each PWS will be notified no later than January 15 and pay the full fee.
Nontransient Non-community PWS
Transient Non-community PWS
IDEM will use the data from its current inventory to determine the type of PWS, type of source water supply, and will work with community systems to determine the number of service connections.
The fee must be received within thirty (30) days after the PWS is notified of its fee. Systems that do not submit the required fee maybe subject to enforcement, delinquency charges and/or penalties. A fee is considered late if it is not paid within thirty (30) days of notification. The delinquency charge is 10 percent of the fee.
If a PWS chooses to pass along the annual fee to customers, the cost for the typical Hoosier household will be approximately $0.08/month.
The fees will be used to defray some of the costs of administering the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, including implementing the new rule, conducting additional inspections, enhancing drinking water security, providing compliance assistance, certifying operators, protecting source water, and providing necessary data management. IDEM will also meet with interested stakeholders to gain input on the use of the fees and how best to improve the program.
Under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), EPA currently supports a large portion of IDEM's drinking water program budget. About 20% of the current budget is general fund dollars, provided by Hoosier taxpayers. With the addition of these fees, approximately 44% of the program funding will be fees. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently adopted more SDWA regulations, which in turn has increased IDEM's drinking water program costs. It is anticipated that continuous amendments to the SDWA in the upcoming years will result in additional costs for IDEM's drinking water program. The fees adopted this year will allow IDEM to address the most recent amendments to the SDWA. However, they may not be sufficient to cover the additional amendments to the SDWA expected in the upcoming years.
The General Assembly granted the authority in House Enrolled Act 1001, which was signed into law on May 8, 2003. The law is included in Indiana Code Title 13, Article 18, Chapter 20.5 (IC 13-18-20.5).