Rushville City Utilities received a “Laboratory Excellence Award” and a “Plant Safety Award” at the 76th Annual Conference of the Indiana Water Environment Association (IWEA) held recently at the Westin Hotel in downtown Indianapolis.
Mayor Mike Pavey said, “We’re very proud of the utilities and their achievements.”
The Laboratory Excellence Award is presented for outstanding achievement in the implementation of laboratory technique and administration.
The awards may be given to municipal facilities for each classification.
Candidates for the award are determined by the Laboratory Committee and are based upon a graded evaluation of each laboratory that requests a site evaluation.
The Safety Award is given only to those plants that have excellent safety records and pass a voluntary safety inspection.
Recipients of this award are recognized for actively promoting safety throughout their workplace.
Last week, the Rushville Common Council heard a presentation on strategies to address the remaining Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) issue at Rushville’s Water Treatment facilities, in addition to addressing aging equipment concerns for grit removal, blowers and screens used in the treatment processes.
Mayor Pavey opened the Council meeting with a public hearing on the Long-Term Control Plan for the City Utilities. The purpose of the hearing is to update the Long-Term Control Plan and the preliminary engineering report to obtain a loan from the Indiana Wastewater State Revolving Fund.
The city is required to update the Long-Term Control Plan every five years.
No comments were received from the public during the hearing.
Later in the meeting, Steven Gress from Donahue and Associates addressed the Council with a PowerPoint presentation.
The proposed project was designed to comply with the Agreed Order Schedule signed by former Mayor Mervyn Bostic from Feb. 19, 2008. The project would bring the Utility in compliance with IDEM regarding the remaining combined sewer overflow issue in Rushville.
During periods of heavy rain, the remaining CSO system can overflow sewage into the storm sewer system and ultimately the river. This project would separate and provide excess capacity and treatment of water to prevent these occurrences at higher safety margins.
In 2011, there were 12 instances where the combined sewer overflow system emptied into the river, which happens on average 11 times per year.
The estimated cost of the project is $7,613,000.00.
Currently, the interest rate is as low as they are expected to be at between 1.7 and 2 percent, according to Gress.
The projected cost in 5 years would increase by approximately $1,142,000. The expected increase in interest in 5 years would be 2 to 3.5 percent for an overall project cost increase of approximately $1,611,000.
The projected increase in the cost of the project if the city administration and council wait 5 years to tackle this compliance issue is $2,753,000.
The review was able to resolve several design concerns and propose cost savings over previous estimates, some due to changes in IDEM requirements and some due to design improvements.
Discussion by Council members included several questions and answers following the presentation by Gress including:
1 What would the annual cost be to run the new facility?
Response: Relatively minor, an estimated increase of 10 percent.
2. Were there any local complaints or is it all mandated by the Feds or State?
Response: Few complaints. The agreed order is forcing compliance with a federal policy to eliminate CSO’s.
3. After the project is complete what is the next step?
Response: This should solve the problem.
4. When would we have a rate increase?
Response: Before the loan is in place.
5. Will this set us up for future growth?
Response: Yes, it will allow for future growth.
6. Will this impact the City’s debt limit?
Mayor Pavey said the rate study that was just completed did not include this information and he would pass this information on.
The Council will continue to consider these compliance issues at a later date.
Melissa Conrad, 765-932-2222 x107.