PETITION for review of order of Pollution Control Board.
MR. JUSTICE THOMAS J. MORAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
The Hinsdale Sanitary District (District) appeals from the Illinois Pollution Control Board's (Board) order which dismissed the District's complaint without a hearing. The District had sought revocation of a permit, issued by the Environmental Protection Agency to the Riverwoods Development Corporation, which allowed the corporation to construct and operate a privately owned package sewage treatment facility for a proposed development near Hinsdale.
For a proper understanding, it is necessary that we set forth background factors giving rise to the issues presented.
The Board, in order to alleviate water pollution in the County of Du Page, adopted Regulation 70-17. The regulation's preamble (section 1101) pointed out that there was, within the densely populated and developing county, a proliferation of small sewage treatment plants which constituted an impediment to the correction of the present water pollution and a continuing threat of additional pollution in the future; that resolution of the problem necessitated the development of large disposal plants which were more efficient than the small package plants; and that this could best be accomplished by dividing the county, geographically, into nine regions with regional plants strategically located within each of the regions. This goal required the collection of certain preliminary data and the regulation was to provide the vehicle for doing so.
The regulation authorized the institution of informal hearings within each of the nine regions, the same to be conducted by hearing officers who, in turn, were to report back to the Board with their recommendations as to how the goals could best be accomplished. The regulation then provided:
"1108 Issuance of Regional Program. After receipt of the recommendations from the Hearing Officer, the Board shall issue a Regional Program for each of the nine regions, which Program shall provide specific findings as to each region as to how regionalization will be accomplished. This Regional Program, inter alia, shall include the following:
(a) Designate those plants to remain in service, to be constructed, or expanded as regional plants and those plants to be designated as interim facilities, with specific "phase-in, phase-out" dates where applicable;
(b) Designate in each of the nine regions the governmental agency(s) responsible for sewage treatment;
(c) Delineate areas of future growth within DuPage County, making provision for regional sewage treatment plant expansion when necessary;
(d) Provide for a sufficient transport system under the control of a responsible governmental agency in order to carry sewage to the regional treatment plant;
(e) Evaluate the ability of each regional sewage treatment plant to handle its present and projected capacity consonant with predicted growth patterns within DuPage County;
(f) Provide that presently unserviced areas are guaranteed service on a reasonable cost basis and without the imposition of unreasonable conditions before hookup is allowed.
1113 Future Construction. No permit shall be granted for the construction or operation of any additional sewage treatment plant in DuPage County, except for interim facilities in the event of a demonstrated emergency, that does not conform with the principles of the Regional Program described in Section 1108 of this Chapter, or that is of capacity so small as to create an insignificant risk of inadequate treatment, according to the policies expressed in Rule 1101 of this Chapter."
On appeal, the District contends that issuance of the permit to the corporation violated the principles and goals set forth in paragraph 1101, and also violated the ...