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

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What makes a mayor happy

I saw the announcement that there was an Earth Day celebration at City Hall on Tuesday and that a model of the Storm King hydrodynamic vortex separator that will be used in the storm water treatment plant would be on display. When I got there I saw that the model of the vortex separator was a lot larger than I expected.
 Before I entered the building, I took a quick picture of one of the eagles that decorates the building. I have meant to use those eagles in a post for years.
 Entering the council chambers, I was surprised at how many people were there and how well dressed they were. There were a lot of out of town officials, and when the program began, the mayor introduced them: representatives from Commonwealth Engineers, Inc, which is the designer of the sewer overflow treatment plant, from USDA Rural Development, IDEM, JCEDO, representatives from Congressman Rokita and Senator Donnelly, and more.

All communities that have combined sewer lines, and there are over 100 in Indiana, are required to  have a long term control plan to deal with overflow during heavy rains. How to finance a project that would meet court and IDEM requirements has been a major concern in some of the city council meetings during the past few years. The city made an application to the United States Department of Agriculture for funding, hoping to get a low interest loan. Getting that loan would have been cause for relief, but when the result came back as a $1.7 million loan with a 2.5% interest rate and a $5.2 million grant, it was cause for rejoicing. The mayor was a very happy man.  (Citizens of Rensselaer should also be very happy--the grant will keep sewer rates a lot lower than the otherwise would be.)
 The time line now is that project may be put out for bidding in October, with construction hopefully beginning in January of 2015 and completion December of 2015.

After the brief remarks by several people, the public was invited outside to hear about the vortex plant. It has no moving parts, but uses the flow of water coming from the combined sewer line to create a flow in which the solids will separate out. The solids will go back into the sewer line to be treated by the city's sewage plant, while the water will be treated chemically to kill bacteria and then released into the river. (That is a highly simplified summary--there was a lot more detail available from the engineers.)
 I asked a few questions, including if I could go up on the unit and see what it looked like from the top.
 Then it was time to go back inside for another cookie and check out the display of free mugs, pens, caps, koozies, hand disinfectants, playing cards, paper clip holders, bags, and pads of paper.
Maybe some of the items that were not claimed will be at the gas utility open house on May 2.

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