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File #: 21-1017    Version: 1 Name: 6/21/21 Settlement Agreement for TMDL litigation
Type: Resolution Status: Passed
File created: 6/21/2021 In control: City Council
On agenda: 6/21/2021 Final action: 6/21/2021
Enactment date: 6/21/2021 Enactment #: R-21-240
Title: Resolution to Approve the Settlement and Mutual Release Agreement between the City of Ann Arbor and Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) to Resolve Challenges to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Program (NPDES) Permit for the City's Wastewater Treatment Plant
Attachments: 1. Settlement Agreement and Mutual Release (City of Ann Arbor et al v EGLE) - 4.29.2021 final.pdf
Title
Resolution to Approve the Settlement and Mutual Release Agreement between the City of Ann Arbor and Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) to Resolve Challenges to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Program (NPDES) Permit for the City's Wastewater Treatment Plant
Memorandum
The proposed Settlement Agreement discussed in this memorandum, if approved, would resolve a long running series of disputes and pending administrative and legal actions arising from challenges to the phosphorus discharge limits in the NPDES permit for the City's Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP).

BACKGROUND
In 1999, the City's WWTP was one of four major point sources in the middle Huron River watershed to which EGLE issued a NPDES permit with revised phosphorus limits that were more restrictive. These phosphorus limits were based on a total maximum daily load (TMDL) study completed by EGLE in 1996 to address nuisance algal blooms in two man-made river impoundments, Ford and Belleville Lakes. All four point sources (Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Dexter, and Loch Alpine Sanitary Authority) retained Varnum, LLP and contested these and subsequent NPDES permits and phosphorus limits on the basis that the TMDL was based on unrealistic modeling data, ignored seasonal externalities, and reached flawed conclusions unsupported by the science which EGLE used to impose more restrictive phosphorus discharge limits. In short, the communities argued their WWTP discharges were not the cause of the nuisance algal blooms, and that the TMDL did not represent proper lake management for addressing the water quality problem in the impacted man-made lakes. The City also argued that if implemented, the TMDL would impose a significant financial burden on the City's residents served by its WWTP while not achieving the desired water quality objective for the man-made lakes.

Attempts to resolve the ongoing dispute were unsuccessful, and the contested case eventually went to a hea...

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