The parties in General Mill Supply Co. v. Great Lakes Water Authority have reached a settlement, pending the court’s approval.
The court has granted preliminary approval of the settlement. The order for preliminary approval is available at the link below.
More details will be available shortly on www.kickhamhanley.com and www.iwcsettlement.com
January 24, 2024 – Objection and claims filing deadline.
February 23, 2024 at 2:00 pm – Final approval hearing by Zoom. Class Counsel will contact class members who file timely written objections to provide instructions for appearing at the final approval hearing by Zoom. Class members who do not file timely written objections and members of the public may view the final approval hearing on Judge Hegarty’s Youtube page at the link below:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS REGARDING THE CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT IN GENERAL MILL SUPPLY CO. v. GREAT LAKES WATER AUTHORITY AND THE CITY OF DETROIT.
- What is an IWC Charge?
The IWC Charge is a charge included in the sewer bills of certain sewer users in the City of Detroit and the “Member Communities” identified below. GLWA is required to use the revenues from the Charge to fund GLWA’s “Industrial Waste Control” Division (the “IWC Division”). The IWC Division is primarily tasked with monitoring the sewage discharge of certain “Significant Industrial Users” who are required by federal law to “pretreat” their discharges before they send them to the wastewater treatment plant.
- What type of sewer users incur the IWC Charge?
The IWC Charge is imposed on most (but not all) non-residential (commercial and industrial) sewer users in the City of Detroit and in the “Member Communities” identified below.
The IWC Charge is not imposed on residential sewer users. This includes single-family houses, multi-family properties, apartments and residential condominiums.
The IWC Charge also is not typically imposed on public and private elementary and secondary school which are part of a government school district; colleges, universities, professional schools, junior colleges and technical institutes; and local, state and federal government facilities.
- What is the time period involved in the case?
Sewer customers who incurred or paid IWC Charges between July 18, 2013 and June 30, 2023 are eligible to participate in the Settlement.
- Do I have to submit a claim to receive a refund?
Yes. Only those Class Members who submit timely and valid claims will be entitled to receive a refund. Claim forms are available at iwcsettlement.com or kickhamhanley.com. Claims can be submitted electronically or via mail. Regardless of the method of submission, all claims must be received by January 24, 2024. Any claim received after that date will not be eligible to receive a refund.
- Which municipalities collected the IWC Charge?
Farmington, City of
Gross Pointe Farms
Grosse Pointe Park
Grosse Pointe Shores
Northville, City of
Oxford, Village of
Plymouth, City of
Rochester, City of
Royal Oak Township
St. Clair Shores
Van Buren Twp.
Wayne, City of
- How can I tell if I paid or am paying an IWC Charge?
Most commercial and industrial (i.e., nonresidential) sewer customers in the City of Detroit or in the “Member Communities” pay the IWC Charge. The current IWC Charges range from $3.64 to $436.80 and are based upon the size of the water meter servicing each customer.
If you get your sewer bill from the City of Detroit, the bill identifies the charge as “IWC Charge.”
If you get your sewer bill from a Member Community, the charge will likely be a separate line item on your sewer bill identified as the “Industrial Waste Control” charge, “IWC Charge,” or “Pollutant Charge.”
If you have any doubt about whether you are incurring an IWC Charge, your Member Community should be able to tell you based upon its records.
Also, many communities have a link to their utility billing records on their websites.
- Is the IWC Charge the same as a Pollutant Surcharge?
No. A Pollutant Surcharge is a separate charge paid by certain sewer users in the City of Detroit and the Member Communities who discharge wastewater with higher concentrations of “conventional” pollutants. This charge compensates the City and GLWA for the extra costs they incur to treat that wastewater.
- What will be the amount of my refund?
The amount of each claiming Class Member’s refund will be determined by (1) the size of their water meter (the bigger the meter, the higher the IWC Charge paid), (2) the length of time they paid the IWC Charges (the longer the time, the higher the total IWC Charges paid) and (3) the number of Class Members who submit valid claims (the more claimants, the lower refund per claimant). Because of these variables, it is not possible at this point to determine the amount of any Class Member’s actual refund.
However, we expect that approximately $7.5 million will be refunded to Class Members, and therefore, we can project the amount the “average” Class Member will receive based upon assumption about the number of valid claims that are submitted.
For example, if 10,000 Class Members file valid claims, the “average” Class Member will receive a refund of $750.
If 30,000 Class Members file valid claims, the “average” Class Member will receive a refund of $250.
- How do I determine the size of my water meter?
Check your water and sewer bill from your community. It may show the size of the meter. The municipality that provides your sewer service may also be able to tell you.
Certain websites also can be helpful. You can find one here: How To Identify The Size Of The Water Meter & Supply Line | Sprinkler School (sprinklerwarehouse.com)
Finally, even if your bill doesn’t show the size of your water meter, if you are a current customer paying IWC Charges, you can determine the size of your water meter by the amount of the IWC Charges you are currently paying as shown on your current bill. Here is a chart that shows the current monthly IWC Charges based on meter size (if you are billed quarterly, you will need to divide your quarterly charge by three to determine the meter size):
Meter Size Current Monthly Charge
5/8 inch $3.64
¾ inch $5.46
1 inch $9.10
1.5 inch $20.02
2 inch $29.12
3 inch $52.78
4 inch $72.80
6 inch $109.20
8 inch $182.00
10 inch $254.80
12 inch $291.20
14 inch $364.00
16 inch $436.80
- What if my landlord paid the IWC charge and then charged me?
Only persons and entities who directly paid the IWC Charges to the City of Detroit or the Member Communities are eligible to participate in the Settlement. However, if a landlord passed the IWC Charges on to its tenants, the tenants may be able to get their share of any refund of IWC Charges paid to the landlord. That is a matter between the tenant and landlord and is not addressed by the Settlement.
- I paid IWC Charges in the past but moved from the property associated with the Charges. Can I still claim a refund?
Yes, the claim form asks each Class Member to provide the dates they paid the IWC Charges.
- When will I receive my refund?
Refunds will only be paid if the Court grants “final approval” to the Settlement. The Court has scheduled the “final approval” hearing for February 23, 2024.
If the Court grants “final approval,” the refunds will be distributed to each Class Member who submits a valid claim in two equal installments. It is expected that the first installment will be made in March 2024 and the second installment will be made in July 2024.