Case No. 2018-25487-W




Hammond sanitary district,









Complainant and Respondent desire to settle and compromise this action without hearing or adjudication of any issue of fact or law, and consent to the entry of the following Findings of Fact and Order. Pursuant to Indiana Code (IC) 13-30-3-3, entry into the terms of this Agreed Order does not constitute an admission of any violation contained herein. Respondent's entry into this Agreed Order shall not constitute a waiver of any defense, legal or equitable, which Respondent may have in any future administrative or judicial proceeding, except a proceeding to enforce this order.




1.             Complainant is the Commissioner (Complainant) of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), a department of the State of Indiana created by IC 13-13-1-1.


2.             Hammond Sanitary District (Respondent), owns and operates the Hammond Sanitary District Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) located at 5143 Columbia Avenue, in Hammond, Lake County, Indiana (the Site).


3.             Respondent is authorized by its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit No. IN0023060 (the Permit) to discharge wastewater, treated in accordance with the terms and conditions of the NPDES Permit, from its WWTP into the West Branch Grand Calumet River from Outfall 001.


As the recipient of the Permit, Hammond Sanitary District WWTP is also known as permittee.


4.             Pursuant to 327 Indiana Administrative Code (IAC) 5-2-8(1), permittee shall comply with all terms and condition of the Permit. Any permit noncompliance constitutes a violation of the Clean Water Act and IC 13 and is grounds for enforcement action by IDEM.


5.             IDEM has jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter of this action pursuant to IC 13-30-3.


6.             Pursuant to IC 13-30-3-3, on October 10, 2018, IDEM issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) via Certified Mail to:


Sam Dimopoulos, President

Board of Sanitary Commissioners

Hammond Sanitary District

5143 Columbia Avenue

Hammond, Indiana 46327


7.             Respondent collects, transmits, stores, and treats sewage and storm water from the City of Hammond and the Town of Munster, customer municipalities, and industrial users.


8.             During an investigation, conducted by a representative of IDEM, violations were found, as described below.


9.             Pursuant to Part II.B.1(a) of the Permit, in accordance with 327 IAC 5-2-8(9), the permittee shall at all times maintain in good working order and efficiently operate all facilities and systems (and related appurtenances, i.e., equipment used for measuring and determining compliance) for collection and treatment that are: (1) installed or used by the permittee; and (2) necessary for achieving compliance with the terms and conditions of the permit.


Pursuant to Part II.B.5 of the Permit, in accordance with 327 IAC 5-2-10 and 327 IAC 5-2-8(14), in order to maintain compliance with the effluent limitations and prohibitions of this permit, the permittee shall either:

a.    provide an alternative power source sufficient to operate facilities utilized by the permittee to maintain compliance with the effluent limitations and conditions of this permit, or

b.    shall halt, reduce or otherwise control all discharge in order to maintain compliance with the effluent limitations and conditions of this permit upon the reduction, loss, or failure of one or more of the primary sources of power to facilities utilized by the permittee to maintain compliance with the effluent limitations and conditions of this permit.


Respondent’s current infrastructure, intended to provide for an emergency alternate power source, is not adequate or reliable enough to assure continuous compliance. Respondent experienced 9 power outages at the Site since 2011 with 2 occurring in March 2018, each incident in violation of Parts II.B.1(a) and II.B.5  of the Permit. In addition, a force main failure occurred near the Kennedy Avenue North lift station on April 28, 2018, in violation of Part II.B.1(a) of the Permit.


10.      Pursuant to IC 13-30-2-1, a person may not discharge, emit, cause, allow, or threaten to discharge, emit, cause, or allow any contaminant or waste, including any noxious odor either alone or in combination with contaminants from other sources, into the environment in any form that causes or would cause pollution that violates or would violate rules, standards, or discharge or emission requirements adopted by the appropriate board under the environmental management laws.


Pursuant to 327 IAC 2-1.5-8(b)(1), all surface waters within the Great Lakes system at all times and at all places, including waters within the mixing zone, shall meet the minimum conditions of being free from substances, materials, floating debris, oil, or scum attributable to municipal, industrial, agricultural, and other land use practices, or other discharges:

a.        that will settle to form putrescent or otherwise objectionable deposits;

b.        that are in amounts sufficient to be unsightly or deleterious;

c.        that produce color, visible oil sheen, odor, or other conditions in such degree

as to create a nuisance;

d.        which are in amounts sufficient to be acutely toxic to, or to otherwise severely

injure or kill aquatic life, other animals, plants, or humans; and

e.        which are in concentrations or combinations that will cause or contribute to the

growth of aquatic plants or algae to such degree as to create a nuisance, be unsightly, or otherwise impair the designated uses.


Pursuant to Part II.B.6 of the Permit, any overflow or release of sanitary wastewater from the wastewater treatment facilities or collection system that results in a discharge to waters of the state and is not specifically authorized by this permit is expressly prohibited. These discharges are subject to the reporting requirements in Part II.C.3 of this permit.


On March 1, 2018, Respondent experienced a power outage at the Site. The WWTP’s secondary bypass was activated, due to flooding of the secondary units, allowing partially treated wastewater to enter the Grand Calumet River. In addition, wastewater could not be treated through the WWTP which required the influent to be pumped to the Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Storage Basin. On March 1, 2018 and March 2, 2018, the CSO Storage Basin, containing mixed CSO and bypassed raw influent, overflowed through Outfall 022 into the Grand Calumet River. The estimated volume was reported as 29.6 million gallons on March 1, 2018 and 14.1 million gallons on March 2, 2018, in violation of IC 13-30-2-1, 327 IAC 2-1.5-8(b)(1), and Part II.B.6 of the Permit.


On April 28, 2018, a force main failure resulted in an estimated 3.45 million gallons of sewage being discharged into the Grand Calumet River via Outfall 005, each incident in violation of IC 13-30-2-1, 327 IAC 2-1.5-8(b)(1), and Part II.B.6 of the Permit.


11.         On April 17, 2019, Respondent submitted a response to IDEM.  In the response, Respondent asserts that the electrical equipment that failed on March 1, 2018, or at any other time, was owned, operated, maintained and/or controlled by Nipsco.  Further, Respondent contends that the discharges had primary and secondary treatment.


12.         In recognition of the settlement reached, Respondent waives any right to administrative and judicial review of this Agreed Order.




1.             This Agreed Order shall be effective (Effective Date) when it is adopted by Complainant or Complainant’s delegate (as evidenced by signature), and the adopted Agreed Order has been received by Respondent. This Agreed Order shall have no force or effect until the Effective Date. In addition to addressing the violations cited in Paragraphs 9 and 10 of the Findings of Fact above, this Agreed Order also addresses any additional violations of these same rules that may have occurred subsequent to the issuance of the NOV and prior to the Effective Date.


2.             Respondent shall comply with statutes, rules, and permit conditions as listed in the findings here and/or above at issue.


3.             Within 30 days of the Effective Date, Respondent shall develop and submit to IDEM for approval a Compliance Plan (CP) which identifies actions that Respondent will take to achieve and maintain compliance with its Permit, specifically including the actions Respondent will take to obtain an alternative source of power to serve in a back-up capacity at the Site.


The CP shall include an implementation and completion schedule, including specific milestone dates.


4.        The plan required by Order Paragraph 3 is subject to IDEM approval. In the event IDEM determines that the CP submitted by Respondent is deficient or otherwise unacceptable, Respondent shall revise and resubmit the CP to IDEM in accordance with IDEM’s notice. After three submissions of such CP by Respondent, IDEM may seek civil enforcement of this Order.


5.        Respondent, upon receipt of written notification from IDEM, shall immediately implement the approved CP and adhere to the milestone dates therein. The approved CP shall be incorporated into the Agreed Order and shall be deemed an enforceable part thereof.


6.        Beginning with the first calendar quarter following the Effective Date, Respondent shall submit to IDEM a written progress report within 10 days of the end of each calendar quarter, which identifies the compliance actions implemented during each quarter ending on March 31st, June 30th, September 30th, and December 31st until completion of the CP.


5.        This Order does not determine if a construction permit is required through IDEM’s

Facilities Construction and Engineering Support Section for any infrastructure changes or if a Permit modification is required. Respondent is responsible in determining what permitting may be necessary to achieve compliance.


6.             All submittals required by this Agreed Order, unless Respondent is notified otherwise in writing by IDEM, shall be sent to:


Linda McClure, Enforcement Case Manager

Office of Water Quality – IGCN 1255

Indiana Department of Environmental Management

100 North Senate Avenue

Indianapolis, IN 46204-2251


7.             Respondent is assessed and agrees to pay a civil penalty of Five Thousand Six Hundred Twenty-Five Dollars ($5,625). Said penalty amount shall be due and payable to the “Environmental Management Special Fund” within 30 days of the Effective Date, the 30th day being a “Due Date.”


8.             In the event the terms and conditions of the following paragraphs are violated, IDEM may assess and Respondent shall pay the corresponding stipulated penalty:




Stipulated Penalty

3, 4

Failure to submit or modify the CP within the required time period.

$250 per week late, or part thereof.


Failure to meet and/or implement any milestone date set forth in the approved CP.

$500 per week late, or part thereof.



Failure to submit to IDEM a written report of progress within 10 days of each calendar quarter.

$150 per week late, or part thereof.


9.             Stipulated penalties shall be due and payable no later than the 30th day after Respondent receives written notice that IDEM has determined a stipulated penalty is due, the 30th day being a “Due Date.” IDEM may notify Respondent at any time that a stipulated penalty is due. Failure to notify Respondent in writing in a timely manner of a stipulated penalty assessment shall not waive IDEM’s right to collect such stipulated penalty or preclude IDEM from seeking additional relief against Respondent for violation of this Agreed Order. Neither assessment nor payment of stipulated penalties shall preclude IDEM from seeking additional relief against Respondent for a violation of this Agreed Order. Such additional relief includes any remedies or sanctions available pursuant to Indiana law, including, but not limited to, civil penalties pursuant to IC 13-30-4.


10.         Civil and stipulated penalties are payable by check to the “Environmental Management Special Fund.” Checks shall include the Case Number 2018-25487-W of this action and shall be mailed to:


Office of Legal Counsel

Indiana Department of Environmental Management

IGCN, Room N1307

100 North Senate Avenue

Indianapolis, IN 46204


11.         This Agreed Order shall apply to and be binding upon Respondent and its successors and assigns. Respondent’s signatories to this Agreed Order certify that they are fully authorized to execute this Agreed Order and legally bind the party they represent. No change in ownership, corporate, or partnership status of Respondent shall in any way alter its status or responsibilities under this Agreed Order.


12.         In the event that the monies due to IDEM pursuant to this Agreed Order are not paid on or before their Due Date, Respondent shall pay interest on the unpaid balance and any accrued interest at the rate established by IC 24-4.6-1. The interest shall be computed as having accrued from the Due Date until the date that Respondent pays any unpaid balance. The interest shall continue to accrue on the first of each month until the civil penalty and any interest accrued are paid in full. Such interest shall be payable to the Environmental Management Special Fund, and shall be payable to IDEM in the manner specified above.


13.         In the event that any terms of this Agreed Order are found to be invalid, the remaining terms shall remain in full force and effect and shall be construed and enforced as if this Agreed Order did not contain the invalid terms.


14.         Respondent shall provide a copy of this Agreed Order, if in force, to any subsequent owners or successors before ownership rights are transferred. Respondent shall ensure that all contractors, firms and other persons performing work under this Agreed Order comply with the terms of this Agreed Order.


15.         This Agreed Order is not and shall not be interpreted to be a permit or a modification of an existing permit. This Agreed Order, and IDEM’s review or approval of any submittal made by Respondent pursuant to this Agreed Order, shall not in any way relieve Respondent of its obligation to comply with the requirements of its applicable permit or any applicable Federal or State law or regulation.


16.         Complainant does not, by its approval of this Agreed Order, warrant or aver in any manner that Respondent’s compliance with any aspect of this Agreed Order will result in compliance with the provisions of any permit, order, or any applicable Federal or State law or regulation. Additionally, IDEM or anyone acting on its behalf shall not be held liable for any costs or penalties Respondent may incur as a result of Respondent’s efforts to comply with this Agreed Order.


17.         Nothing in this Agreed Order shall prevent or limit IDEM’s rights to obtain penalties or injunctive relief under any applicable Federal or State law or regulation, except that IDEM may not, and hereby waives its right to, seek additional civil penalties for the same violations specified in the NOV.


18.         Nothing in this Agreed Order shall prevent IDEM [or anyone acting on its behalf] from communicating with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or any other agency or entity about any matters relating to this enforcement action. IDEM or anyone acting on its behalf shall not be held liable for any costs or penalties Respondent may incur as a result of such communications with EPA or any other agency or entity.


19.         This Agreed Order shall remain in effect until Respondent has complied with all terms and conditions of this Agreed Order and IDEM issues a Resolution of Case (close out) letter to Respondent.






Department of Environmental Management

Hammond Sanitary District




Samantha K. Groce, Chief


Water Enforcement Section


Surface Water, Operations &


Enforcement Branch


Office of Water Quality



















MANAGEMENT THIS ___________ DAY OF ________________, 20___.



For The Commissioner:




Signed on May 16, 2019


Martha Clark Mettler


Assistant Commissioner


Office of Water Quality