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Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District v. Bath Township

ELR Citation: 45 ELR 20178
Nos. 2015-OHIO-3705, (Ohio, 09/15/2015)

The Supreme Court of Ohio held that a regional sewer district has the authority to create and impose fees for a stormwater management program. The applicable statute authorizes the sewer district to collect, treat, and dispose of "waste water," defined as "any storm water and any water containing sewage or industrial waste." Various community members and private landowners challenged the program, arguing that stormwater can only be waste water when it is combined with sewage or pollutants. But the court disagreed. The statute identifies two types of "waste water," one of which is "any storm water." The regional stormwater-management program therefore falls within the district's statutory authority. In addition, the district's charter specifically authorizes it to build and operate stormwater-handling facilities, and the charter allows the district to charge fees to pay for that program. The court, therefore, reversed the decision of the appellate court, which had ruled in favor of the parties challenging the program.