The Kokomo Common Council moved ahead on a new sewer ordinance last week, approving four pages of changes to a measure first passed in November.
Complaints from local industry, primarily Chrysler Group LLC and General Motors Components Holdings, prompted most of the changes, which eliminated some of the restrictions the original ordinance would have laid on industries discharging to the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
The ordinance still has to pass a review by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but Monday evening, representatives from Chrysler and GMCH came to the council meeting to praise the amended document.
Steve Dixon, a senior environmental engineer at GMCH, said the changes were reached after a long discussion period, including meetings, emails and phone calls between the city and industry.
“This will help the people of the community, and also offer [industrial] users a very flexible system for negotiating future permits with the city,” Dixon said.
Mark Werthman, an environmental affairs manager with Chrysler, said the ordinance has taken two years to develop, and called it a “great ordinance, both for the city and industrial users, as well as industrial users who might relocate to Kokomo in the future.”
The city is attempting a move to a different system of monitoring pollution, where industrial users no longer have individually set limits for certain pollutants.
Instead, the city will set collective daily limits for all pollutants coming into the wastewater plant. City officials describe the limits as a pie, with each separate industry taking slices of varying sizes each day.
Initially, city officials had hoped to establish tighter local limits as part of the new ordinance, but the attempt didn’t survive the negotiating process with industry. Proposed local limits for biological oxygen demand, ammonia and total suspended solids were eliminated in the amended version.