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Highland and Griffith to make sewer upgrades to stop discharges into Little Calumet River

United State Environmental Protection Agency

Highland and Griffith have agreed to make improvements that will reduce the amount of raw sewage being discharged into the Little Calumet River.

The Environmental Protection Agency says as part of two separate consent decrees, the towns agreed to spend a combined $100 million to improve their sewer systems — increasing the amount of wastewater they send to Hammond for treatment and eliminating points that overflow. Highland will also pay a $175,000 civil penalty, while Griffith will pay $33,000.

According to the complaint, Highland's system overflowed on 257 days since 2012, while Griffith's has overflowed on 16 days since 2013. That allegedly caused discharges into the Little Calumet River, the Cady Marsh Ditch or adjacent wetlands.

Members of the public will have 30 days to comment on the proposed consent decrees, before they get final approval.