Citations Affected: IC 8-1-2-89.
Synopsis: Sewage disposal service in rural areas. Provides that before
the utility regulatory commission may issue a certificate of territorial
authority to a sewage disposal company (company) that provides or
will provide sewage disposal service to less than 500 customers, the
commission must determine that the company is the most appropriate
provider of sewage disposal services for the rural area covered by the
certificate of territorial authority. Provides that the issuance of a
certificate of territorial authority to a company is subject to review and
approval by the department of environmental management.
Effective: July 1, 2007.
January 11, 2007, read first time and referred to Committee on Utilities & Regulatory
A BILL FOR AN ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning
utilities and transportation.
utility shall apply with equal force and effect to a sewage disposal
company, except insofar as said provisions may be inconsistent
with specific provisions of this section.
(3) "Rural area" means territory lying within the state of Indiana and lying outside the corporate limits of a municipality.
(4) "Certificate of territorial authority" means a certificate of convenience and necessity issued by the commission pursuant to this section, which said certificate shall be deemed an indeterminate permit, unless expressly conditioned otherwise by the commission when issued.
(5) "Notice of hearing" means notice of the time, place, and purpose of a hearing, given by publication in at least one (1) newspaper of general circulation in each of the counties in which the particular sewage disposal company operates or proposes to operate and given also in writing by United States registered mail:
(A) to each other sewage disposal company operating in territory contiguous to the territory in which the particular sewage disposal company operates or proposes to operate;
(B) to each municipality in territory contiguous and nearest to the territory in which the particular sewage disposal company operates or proposes to operate; and
(C) to such other persons or entities which the commission may from time to time require by its rules and forms;
all such notices shall be so mailed as to be received by the recipients at least ten (10) days prior to any hearing, or as otherwise required by the commission.
(6) "Package sewage disposal company" means a sewage disposal company that provides or will provide sewage disposal service to less than five hundred (500) customers.
(b) It is hereby declared to be in the public interest to provide for the orderly development and rendering of sewage disposal service in rural areas within the state of Indiana, and such public interest makes it necessary and desirable that to the extent provided herein the holding of a certificate of territorial authority should be required as a condition precedent to the rendering of such service, and that such operation be under the control, regulation, and supervision of the commission, and such sewage disposal companies shall not be subject to regulation by any municipality or county government or metropolitan regulatory body, or any branch or subdivisions thereof or substitute therefor in the form of special service districts, with the
exception exceptions that:
(1) a sewage disposal company shall be subject to the
comprehensive plan, zoning, and subdivision requirements and
regulations of the governmental units having jurisdiction in the
(2) a package sewage disposal company is subject to the requirements set forth in subsection (m).
However, all functions, powers, and duties of the state department of health and the water pollution control board shall remain unaffected by this section.
(c) No sewage disposal company shall commence the rendering of sewage disposal service in any rural area in the state of Indiana in which it is not actually rendering sewage disposal service, without first obtaining from the commission a certificate of territorial authority authorizing such sewage disposal service, finding that public convenience and necessity require such sewage disposal service within such rural area by such sewage disposal company, and defining and limiting specifically the rural area covered thereby. No sewage disposal company hereby required to hold such a certificate shall render any additional sewage disposal service within such rural area to any extent greater than that authorized by such certificate or shall continue to render sewage disposal service within such rural area if and after such certificate of territorial authority has been revoked or transferred as in this section provided, unless in such order of revocation or transfer the commission shall require continued service until a new sewage disposal company or municipality actually takes over such service. The commission shall not have the power to require extension of such service by any sewage disposal company into any additional territory than that defined and limited in such a certificate without the consent of such sewage disposal company.
(d) Whenever any sewage disposal company proposes to commence the rendering of sewage disposal service in any rural area, it shall file with the commission a verified application for a certificate of territorial authority to cover the proposed service. The commission shall by rule prescribe the form of the application and the information to be contained therein, including information necessary to make a determination under subsection (m), and such application by any such company shall conform to such prescribed form. The commission shall set the matter for hearing and notice of such hearing shall be given to the parties and in the manner defined in this section. Any city may, and upon petition to the commission shall, be made a party to any service proposal if its territorial limits lie within five (5) miles of the area to be serviced under this section. A verified application submitted by a package sewage disposal company must include a
resolution in support of the verified application adopted by the
board of county commissioners of the county in which the package
sewage disposal company seeks to provide sewage disposal services.
(e) If, after notice of hearing and hearing on any application for a certificate of territorial authority, the commission shall find from the evidence introduced at such hearing, including any evidence which the commission shall have caused to be introduced as a result of any investigation which it may have made into the matter, that the applicant has proved:
(1) lawful power and authority to apply for said certificate and to operate said proposed service;
(2) financial ability to install, commence, and maintain said proposed service; and
(3) public convenience and necessity require the rendering of the proposed service in the proposed rural area by this particular sewage disposal company; however, in the event the service is proposed for a proposed rural real estate addition, division, or development, or any part thereof, the reasonably expected sewage disposal service requirements of the anticipated residents may be found to constitute such public convenience and necessity;
then the certificate of territorial authority, defining and limiting the rural area to be covered thereby, shall be granted to the applicant, subject to such terms, restrictions, limitations, and conditions, including but not limited to a reasonable time in which to commence operations, as the commission shall determine to be necessary and desirable in the public interest.
(f) In cases of applications filed by two (2) or more sewage disposal companies seeking the issuance of a certificate of territorial authority for the same area or areas or any conflicting portions thereof, the commission may either consider such applications separately or by consolidation of two (2) or more or all within a single hearing at its discretion and shall have the power to issue its certificate after notice of hearing and hearing to any single qualified sewage disposal company for a particular rural area, or, in the event that the commission determines and finds that two (2) or more or all applicants seeking the same area or areas or any conflicting portions thereof are both or all qualified, then the commission shall have the power to determine which is the better or best qualified, or whether the same area or areas or any conflicting portions thereof shall be divided between or among such qualified applicants. However, in no event shall such area or areas or portions thereof be greater than that for which the particular applicant applied, unless such sewage disposal company shall consent
and agree in writing to such modification of its application and the
issuance of such modified certificate.
(g) After the issuance of such certificate, no other sewage disposal company shall render sewage disposal service in the area or areas so determined and so defined in any certificate of territorial authority issued by the commission, except after notice of hearing and hearing, and the determination and finding by the commission that public convenience and necessity require that sewage disposal service in said same area or areas be also rendered or offered by an additional or another company, and the issuance of a certificate duly granted by the commission as provided in this section.
(h) A sewage disposal company shall be required to furnish reasonable adequate sewage disposal services and facilities for which said service and facilities it shall be entitled to charge reasonable, nondiscriminatory rates, subject to the jurisdiction of the commission for the purpose of fixing said rates to be charged to patrons of such sewage disposal company for sewage disposal service, and for such purpose the commission is given jurisdiction to proceed in the same manner and with like power as is provided by this chapter in the case of public utilities.
(i) To encourage the installation of sewage treatment plants, and sewers, mains, stations, and all other equipment and appurtenances for rendering sewage disposal service in rural areas in close proximity to municipalities, and to ensure that a sewage disposal company which had made such installation in such area can recover the cost of its investment, in the event that the area or areas or any part thereof included within the territory granted under a certificate of territorial authority shall be annexed by any municipality at any time within twelve (12) years from the date that such certificate was granted, a sewage disposal company operating under such certificate shall continue to operate under such certificate of territorial authority, subject to the exclusive jurisdiction and regulation of the commission, for the unexpired portion of such period of twelve (12) years from the date of granting such certificate, or, in the case of a determinate permit specifying a term shorter than twelve (12) years, then for the unexpired portion of such lesser period as specified by such permit from the date of granting such permit. However, the foregoing provisions in regard to continued operation within the corporate limits of a municipality after annexation shall not affect the right of the sewage disposal company to cease its operation of providing sewage disposal service within such annexed territory prior to the termination of said twelve (12) year or lesser determinate permit period, upon thirty (30) days
written notice to the commission, the municipality, and all patrons.
(j) Upon approval by the commission given after notice of hearing and hearing, but not otherwise, any certificate of territorial authority may:
(1) be sold, assigned, leased, or transferred by the holder thereof to any sewage disposal company to which a territorial certificate might be lawfully issued; or
(2) be included in the property and rights encumbered under any indenture of mortgage or deed of trust of such holder;
or any sewage treatment plant or plants, sewers, mains, stations, and equipment and appurtenances for the rendering of sewage disposal service, or any part thereof, may be sold, assigned, leased, or transferred by the holder thereof to any municipality if these assets lie within an area which shall have been annexed by such municipality or lie within the given radius of miles from the corporate limits of such municipality into which it is authorized to render such services, if such municipality is prepared to render a comparable sewage disposal service without loss of continuity of service, and if the terms of such sale, assignment, lease, or transfer are reasonable. However, once the commission has given its approval to such transaction and the transaction itself is actually consummated, the commission shall have no control over the sewage disposal service henceforth rendered by such municipality as a municipally owned utility (as defined in this chapter).
(k) Any certificate of territorial authority may, after notice of hearing and hearing, be revoked by the commission, in whole or in part, for the failure of the holder thereof to furnish reasonably adequate sewage disposal service within the area or areas determined and defined in such certificate of territorial authority, or for the failure of the holder thereof to comply with any applicable order or rule prescribed by the commission in the exercise of its powers under this chapter, or for failure to comply with any term, condition, or limitation of such certificate of territorial authority.
(l) After the commission revokes any certificate of territorial authority under subsection (k) or after the county board of health determines the existence of a serious health problem related to the sewage disposal facility, the county commissioners of the county in which the sewage disposal facility is located may acquire the facility, subject to the approval of the acquisition by the county council, except that the county commissioners may not acquire any facility already acquired by any city or town. The county commissioners shall acquire the sewage disposal facility by: