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2018 Legislative Update: Environmental Law Part 2 - Environmental Law News

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Environmental Law News

Posted on: Apr 17, 2018

By Donald M. Snemis, Ice Miller LLP

This is the second of a two-part report highlighting some of the new legislation from the 2018 Legislative Session that might affect environmental practitioners. In Part 1, I covered some of the changes to Indiana’s criminal laws regarding environmental violations found in HEA 1233, IDEM’s Omnibus bill. Below, I will highlight other portions of HEA 1233 and discuss other relevant legislation from the 2018 session.

HEA 1233:  IDEM’s 2018 Omnibus Bill

In addition to the criminal law changes in HEA 1233 mentioned in Part 1, the bill also:

  • States that drugs confiscated by law enforcement agencies may be disposed of and destroyed in any number of ways without the need for a separate approval, such as in cement kilns, electric arc furnaces, and incinerators.  
  • Brings clarity and consistency to the certification and renewal processes for operators of wastewater treatment plants, water treatment plants, and water distribution systems.
  • Explains the powers and status of solid waste management district officials once a district is dissolved.  
  • Directs the Environmental Rules Board to adopt rules for the disposal of sewage through the use of onsite sewage systems for municipalities and publicly-owned treatment works.

In addition, HEA 1233 urges the legislative council to assign to an interim study committee the issue of reducing non-point source impacts on water quality.

SEA 274:  UST Closures

SEA 274 changes the state’s underground storage tank (UST) laws.  The former statute allowed IDEM to issue a temporary order to prohibit the use of an ineligible UST, but once the initial order expired, IDEM’s authority to take further action was unclear.  SEA 274 amends the law to allow IDEM to reissue temporary orders, and to order closure of a UST if the owner or operator of the UST fails to complete the corrective actions required to comply with IDEM’s orders.

HEA 1267:  Water Infrastructure Task Force

HEA 1267 creates the Water Infrastructure Task Force, which shall examine standards and best practices for maintaining and managing drinking water systems, wastewater management systems, and storm water management systems, and determine whether Indiana’s water infrastructure is achieving those standards.  This includes long-term planning, examination of funding sources, determining whether infrastructure improvements in these areas would enhance economic development, and determining who should bear the financial burden of infrastructure improvements.  The task force was also asked to create “an empirical decision-making tool” to help policymakers prioritize water infrastructure funding.  In addition, the bill directs the Indiana Finance Authority to retain an entity to study the needs of state and local government with regard to compliance with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) storm water program.

SEA 269:  Regional Water, Sewage, and Solid Waste Districts

SEA 269 requires a hearing officer presiding over a petition to establish a regional water, sewage, or solid waste district to give notice to any executive of a city or town with a municipal sewage works or a public sanitation department that has extraterritorial jurisdiction within the boundaries of the proposed district.  Further, the new law requires that the board of a regional sewage district considering the addition of new territory must give notice to all governmental entities included in the proposed addition, as well as the executive of any city or town with a municipal sewage works or public sanitation department with extraterritorial jurisdiction in the proposed addition.

SEA 362:  Regulation of New Water and Wastewater Utilities

SEA 362 provides that any new water or wastewater utility organized as a legal entity after June 30, 2018, is subject to the jurisdiction of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission for a period of ten (10) years.  The law also provides that before any loan or financial assistance is provided by the Wastewater Revolving Loan Fund or the Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund, the participant must demonstrate that it has the financial, managerial, technical, and legal capability of operating and maintaining a wastewater collection and treatment system, and that it has developed or is in the process of developing an asset management program.  

Likewise, the law requires that before a permit is issued to operate a water treatment plant or wastewater treatment plant, or a permit is amended for purposes of expanding an existing plant, the permit application must certify that the applicant has completed a life cycle cost-benefit analysis, a capital asset management plan, and a cybersecurity plan.  These plans must be reviewed and revised at least once every five (5) years.  

HEA 1120:  Meth Lab Cleanups Transferred to IDOH

The Legislature changed key provisions of Indiana law regarding properties used in the illegal manufacture of controlled substances (meth labs, for example).  The Indiana State Police (ISP) will continue to be responsible for maintaining and publishing lists of such properties, and law enforcement agencies will be required to report such properties to the ISP, the local fire department, the local health department, and the Indiana criminal justice institute.  However, the ISP will no longer maintain a list of certified inspectors and cleaners.  Rather, HEA 1120 assigned authority to the Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) to establish a program to train, test, and certify qualified inspectors to decontaminate sites previously used to manufacture controlled substances illegally, and to adopt rules for remediation standards.  All rules, powers, duties, agreements, and liabilities of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management were transferred to IDOH.

SEA 178:  Taking Sand from Lake Michigan

SEA 178 provides that sand from the bed of Lake Michigan may only be deposited on the beach of Lake Michigan, and may not be used for any other purpose.  However, a permittee that dredges not more than ten (10) cubic yards of sand within a thirty (30) day period is exempt from that provision.  Further, if any sand contains a toxic material or a substance that is potentially harmful to human health or the environment, it must be disposed of in a manner consistent with state hazardous waste management laws.

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