This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

More water news from the City Council

The City Council meeting on Monday night was a long one with several presentations. The first of the presentations was about the storm water treatment plant. The city is trying to get funding in the form of a loan from the Department of Agriculture and the Kankakee Iroquois Regional Planning Commission was assisting with the grant application. The Council adjourned for the public hearing about the matter and two speakers talked about the financing and about the plant itself. The presentations did not cover much that has not been discussed in previous meetings. (See here and follow links back.)

The meeting resumed with approval of a motion to require those buying and selling precious metals to have a city license. There are four such dealers in Rensselaer that will be affected. There were a couple of other small matters before the second set of presentations. A representative from the engineering firm of Clark Dietz gave a presentation about providing water to west end of the city, the area just east of I-65, an area that was annexed about three years ago. (For a larger version of the picture below, click here.)
 Clark Deitz has prepared a preliminary plan for the city to provide water to west of the Interstate, trying to fit that into the overall picture of what Rensselaer will need in the future. Right now the city's two water pumps satisfy IDEM's requirements that the city be able to function if their largest pump is out of commission, but with future growth a third pump may be needed. Restarting Pump #2, which is in Iroquois Park, does not seem to be an option because of chemical contamination. The upgraded water treatment plant in Iroquois Park will be large enough to handle considerable growth.

Currently there is a ten-inch water main to the fairgrounds. Dietz suggests continuing westward with a twelve inch line because that would give greater water pressure at the end than a ten-inch line would. If there is not enough water pressure, than a new water tower would be required to give adequate pressure. (These results are from hydrology calculations that engineers do.) If there is future growth in the area, at some time in the future a new tank or booster pumping will be required, but that is down the road.

At present chlorine is injected into the water supply at the water treatment plant. The levels are kept as low as possible to minimize taste and odor issues for those close to the plant. Chlorine oxidizes out of the water over time (which is why you let chlorinated water sit in a container for a day or two before you pour it into your fish tank), and because of the time water will take to travel the three miles to the Interstate area, it will not have much chlorine left by the time it reaches its destination. One solution is to install a booster pump and add chlorine along the way, but a cheaper way is to try to adjust (increase) chlorine levels at the water treatment plant.

Phase 1 of the project, which has a price tag of about $2.5 million, is to extend the water main to the Interstate and adjust the chlorine levels. The Council decided to amend the professional services contract that the city has with Clark Dietz to allow them to continue planning with a survey of the area. The plan shown in the picture above is a preliminary plan based on aerial photographs; an on-the-ground survey would give them information to determine where modifications are needed. There was $57,000 left in some grant that must be spent by May 1 or lost, and this money would fund the survey. However, the complete plan will require additional funding.

At present, usage of water at the Interstate is about 26,000 gallons a day. When the water main is completed, people and businesses along the route will be able to connect but will not be required to connect. They will be able to keep their present water source if that is what they want to do.

The next presentation was by a financial consultant who had looked at water department financing and how the water main extension change those financials. He recommended open market financing for the project. Currently interest rates are about four percent and he suggested a twenty year loan. The city would have to pay a bit more than $200,000 per year in interest and principle repayment over those twenty years.

The consultant was working from a financial report that the Council members had but the members of the audience lacked. He said that right now the water utility is short about $150,000 per year in revenues and that gap would grow with the new water line. He said that to close the entire gap, the average water bill would have to increase by about $7.20 per month. He suggested increasing the rates in three steps, with the biggest step coming first. He said that if there is growth in the new area served, that growth may reduce the amount of future increases needed.

The Council then finished up with a few minor items. It approved the expenditure of about $12,000 for a new mower for Weston Cemetery. The fire station had 17 cubic yards of fill pumped in under one bay but did not have funds to do more. The fire department has an engineering firm coming to discuss the proposed fire station on the east side of town. The City offered the School Board $40,000 for Staddon Field and was turned down. The Mayor said that he would attend the Park Board and Corporation meeting next week to discuss options. On August 2 the Jasper County Preservation Society will host a movable feast that will highlight the architecture of Frank Fisher. The City has responded to fifty to sixty water line freeze-ups so far this winter. And with that, the meeting adjourned.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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