WINC has received confirmation from IDEM that Ben Davis Conservancy District has withdrawn their application for the permit to operate a sewage plant at 900 S. Tibbs.
The withdrawal comes after IDEM commissioned an independent firm to review the disputed financial claims of the district. The firm’s report concluded that BDCD would not be able to build and operate its proposed sewage plant at a cost that would be affordable to ratepayers.
BDCD could apply again, but the process is long and costly. We will keep an eye out for that.
We sincerely appreciate the support from Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC), Sen Andrea Hunley, Rep Justin Moed, Sierra Club, the hardworking people at IDEM, and everyone else working to improve quality of life from West Indy across Indiana.
See WINC’s official statement here.
Scroll down for more information about why we were against this project. If you would like to learn how to navigate IDEM’s Virtual File Cabinet so that you can do your own research on this or other environmental issues, feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It would only serve the Ben Davis Conservancy District.
The proposed site for the plant is 900 S. Tibbs, about 1,000 ft from the intersection of Morris and Tibbs.
It is the nature of the business. West Indy homes and businesses would literally be flanked by sewage plants on either side.
Our air, land, and water have taken more than the fair share of industrial burden for generations.
Neeld Ditch, where the plant would dump, is in a FEMA Floodway. The houses on the other side of the Ditch are also in the floodplain.
Property value will go down when we have 4 sewage facilities within 2 miles.
The QoL Plan was designed and signed by WINC, West Indy residents, community partners such as WIDC, schools, churches, businesses, and Indiana Environmental Institute. The QoL was adopted by the City in 2008. The City’s Land Use Plan is supposed to consider that Quality of Life Plan when making decisions about how to use land in our neighborhood.
Neeld Ditch is protected in the Land Use Plan because it is in a FEMA Floodway, and because the trees along it are some of the oldest and highest quality hardwood in the nation.
This ditch is where the sewage plant would dump its effluent (what comes out of the plant).
Nitrous oxide isn’t just acid rain – as if that’s not bad enough. Even low levels of nitrous oxide can cause fluid buildup in your lungs after just a day or two of exposure.
Nitrous oxide also creates ozone when it reacts with sunlight. Ozone can be deadly for people with asthma or other respiratory problems.
How close would the sewage plant be? Distances as the crow flies from West Indy landmarks:
Sewage plants dump raw sewage into their dumping site (in this case, Neeld Ditch) when overflows happen. If this can happen at large municipal plants with several fail-safes and trained technicians, it can happen in West Indy.
May 2018 – BDCD asks court to seek $13,485,000 funding for plant.
December 2018 – BDCD’s meeting minutes from the month state $15 million cost, with treatment bill for residents to be $50.34/mo.
March 2019 – BDCD asks court to increase funding to $15 million.
December 2021 – Ben Davis Conservancy District (BDCD) receives approved construction permit from IDEM.
March 2021 – BDCD asks court to increase funding to $20 million.
January 2022 – WINC learns of rezone request for BDCD plant at 900 S. Tibbs, MDC hearing continued due to lack of public notice.
February 2022 – MDC examiner approves rezone, WINC appeals decision.
March 2022 – MDC upholds rezone approval. About 10 days later, BDCD asks circuit court for permission to seek additional $4 million, bringing total to $24 million.
April 2022 – City Council votes to uphold MDC recommendation for rezone. Citizens Energy Group (CEG) makes two acquisition offers that would lower BDCD residents’ bills to $30-50/mo.
June 2022 – BDCD submits NPDES application.
July 2022 – IDEM opens draft NPDES permit for public comment.
August 29, 2022 – Deadline for public comment. If you need any help writing or submitting your comment, please reach out to email@example.com
September 26, 2022 – Public comment period extended
October 26, 2022 – IDEM Public Hearing held
November 10, 2022 – Public comment period ends
IDEM is currently reviewing submissions, and has not made a decision. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to follow the latest developments!
In order to be completely transparent, we are sharing all of the documentation we have gathered about this project. We do not wish to misinform or misguide anyone about the conclusions we have come to. If you have any questions or concerns about the validity of the content here, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Email email@example.com before November 10, 2022 to make your opposition official! Please include Permit #IN0064916 in your subject line.
Or you can write to:
Office of Water Quality/NPDES Permits Branch
100 N. Senate Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2251
When: Wednesday, October 26, 2022
Where: Indiana Government Center South Auditorium
302 W. Washington St. Indianapolis, IN 46204
(Please use the 10 N. Senate Ave. entrance)
If you need any help writing or submitting your comment, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
West Indy collected over 400 signatures against the rezone of 900 S. Tibbs to allow for construction of a sewage plant in a matter of days. WINC has worked to engage our city leaders from City Councilor Kristin Jones all the way up to the Mayor’s Office. We have gathered research and spoken at Metropolitan Development Commission (MDC) hearings in an attempt to stop the rezone that would permit this project. WINC and several residents attended April’s Full City Council meeting. The rezone was upheld by Council. We are now fighting to stop the issuance of the drainage permit at State level. We will keep pushing, but we also need you to let them know directly how you feel. You can still email your City Councilor Kristin.Jones@indy.gov or email@example.com to let them know you don’t want this, too!
Triad engineer Jim Frazell (who cites Linton – see overflow above – as one of his projects on his biography) repeatedly pointed us to the Carmel plant as an example of the type of plant that would be at 900 S. Tibbs. The Carmel plant had 9 IDEM violations within 4 months.
Carmel had 4 trained technicians on staff when the plant experienced a toxic episode that halted plant operations indefinitely.
Ben Davis Conservancy District has repeatedly said the reason for this sewage plant would be to save money for their residents. Now Citizen’s has offered to acquire the Conservancy and guarantees a lower rate to residents of the district.
In 2018, Ben Davis Conservancy District told residents at a public meeting that they could build the sewage plant for $15 million and their bill would only be $50.34/mo. They have since raised that amount to $20 million, and now are seeking to make that $24 million. Is it really possible that they can offer an affordable service when the cost of everything is increasing and supply chain issues are compounding?
On Thursday, May 12, Ben Davis Conservancy District’s three-person Board decided to reject Citizens’ offer to purchase the District. Residents were met with disrespect when legitimately asking whether they could vote on the issue, and called liars when recounting stories of bad customer service and quoting BDCD’s own documents.
Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) is the agency that determines whether a person or entity can affect our environment. This is the agency BDCD had to ask for permission to construct and operate the sewage plant. This week, IDEM asked BDCD for updated financial information. BDCD was also advised in that correspondence that public comment period would be open for residents to voice their opinion when BDCD applies for the permit required to dump effluent. This will give you the chance you didn’t get before to be heard!
The Conservancy has said repeatedly that they are building this plant to escape Citizens rate hikes. But Citizen’s didn’t even buy the Belmont Plant until 2011.