Griffith to fight Hammond Sanitary District in court

2013-09-03T22:30:00Z 2013-09-03T23:15:18Z Griffith to fight Hammond Sanitary District in courtCHARLES F. HABER Times Correspondent
September 03, 2013 10:30 pm  • 

GRIFFITH | The Town Council on Tuesday said it will fight a move by the Hammond Sanitary District to cancel an existing contract for handling Griffith's wastewater.

"Hammond cannot just turn off the flow," Griffith Town Attorney Robert Schwerd said.

In an Aug. 28 letter to the council, the district said it will give the town time to make other arrangements.

"Finally, HSD remains open to the possibility of providing future services to Griffith, including by negotiating a regional approach to the wastewater management issues confronting HSD and the customer communities," the letter stated.

Griffith Clerk-Treasurer George Jerome said it appears the issue will end up in a state court.

Schwerd said Griffith will ask a judge to order arbitration over the existing contract, which runs through Dec. 30, 2018.

"We're prepared to defend it vigorously," Schwerd said of the town's stance.

Jerome said the same thing is happening with Highland and Whiting.

"They want to increase our rates" from wholesale to retail, Jerome said.

Jerome said the Environmental Protection Agency told the Sanitary District in 1999 to build a storage facility to hold sewage until it can be treated.

However, the city refused to do this and is now being forced to build the facility — and wants the other municipalities to help pay for it, Jerome said.

Schwerd said Griffith has been trying the past two years to sit down with district officials but they have refused.

He said some Sanitary District documents, which Griffith is entitled to have, have been obtained only through the Freedom of Information Act requests.

In other business, the council accepted a Board of Zoning Appeals recommendation to grant a special use variance for a new preschool to open at 717 N. Elmer St., which is a multifamily residential area.

The building used to house a business known as the Carriage Club.

The building has been used as a preschool in the past and is equipped for such a purpose, board members said.

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