INDIANAPOLIS — State Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, has crossed the first bridge required to put into effect key recommendations of Indiana's 2018 Water Infrastructure Task Force.

The longtime champion of improving the state's water quality, capacity and distribution mechanisms on Monday won unanimous chamber approval for Senate Bill 4.

The measure divides the state into water regions to promote local utility cooperation and consolidation, requires utilities to annually measure their water lost due to leaky pipes, mandates the governor appoint a "water czar" to coordinate state water programs and creates a state task force to tackle stormwater management issues.

In addition, the legislation encourages water utilities to replace galvanized steel service lines at the same time as they replace their lead lines.

"The issue is when you have galvanized lines that connect to lead lines, the galvanized lines will absorb the flaking that happens to the lead lines," Charbonneau said. "So even if you come in and replace the lead lines, you've not completely fixed the problem." 

"If we pass this legislation, Indiana will be the first state in the nation to have a comprehensive removal plan. So it's nice to become a leader in the water area that we just haven't been up to this point in time."

The measure was approved 48-0 and now goes to the House.


Statehouse Bureau Chief

Dan is Statehouse Bureau Chief for The Times. Since 2009, he's reported on Indiana government and politics — and how both impact the Region — from the state capital in Indianapolis. He originally is from Orland Park, Ill.