City utility gets perfect score, IDEM praise

            The City of Decatur’s Storm Water Utility has come in for some high praise from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM).
            Joan Eichhorn, superintendent of the city’s storm water department, told city council at its meeting this week that the city’s Storm Water Permit Program – mandated by IDEM – has received a perfect score from IDEM.
             Eichhorn said an IDEM inspector spent a day here in November evaluating the program.
            “Essentially, there were 130 permit requirements, each rated satisfactory, marginal or unsatisfactory,” Eichhorn said. “Approximately half were rating the overall program requirements and the other half were from the several municipal facilities ‘good housekeeping’ inspections. I am pleased to report that all 130 received satisfactory ratings.
            “So you could say Decatur received a score of 100 percent.”
            The IDEM report recently received by Eichhorn concluded as follows: “The City of Decatur does an excellent job of implementing and managing the Rule 13 MS4 Storm Water Permit Program.”
            The inspector also commended the city for having the foresight to create a Storm Water Utility back in 2004 (when Fred Isch was mayor) and being proactive in implementing the requirements of the program, Eichhorn pointed out.
            Many other communities in Indiana are facing large fines for permit violations and in turn have storm water rates as high as $19, she continued. Decatur, however, has been able to keep its rate at $1.80 since 2004
Mayor John Schultz said of the report, “This is not exciting stuff. But it shows the effort Joan has put into this and 100 percent compliance is highly commendable.” It has kept city rates low and enabled the city to avoid fines, he added.
            The IDEM report is available at: under Rule 13 permit.