Crothersville residents receive info about CSO project



A combined sewer overflow project is expected to start later this year in Crothersville.

Dan Wright, chief executive officer and geologist/environmental specialist for FPBH Inc., said it’s a required project based on the agreed order the town has with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and will satisfy the terms of the CSO compliance plan.

Crothersville is the smallest of the 109 CSO communities in Indiana that are being ordered by IDEM and the Environmental Protection Agency to upgrade its wastewater system to eliminate CSO. Wright said years ago, it was a popular practice to design sanitary and wastewater together.

“What happens is stormwater runs into sanitary, and it all goes to the wastewater treatment plant,” he said during a recent meeting with property owners affected by the project. “What happens is that it creates problems and it gets a lot of volume into the wastewater treatment facility.”

This year’s project will get the town out of the agreed order.

“The agreed order has a 10-year life, and we’re getting close to the end of the 10 years, so in order to meet that mandate to not be subject to fines and penalties from IDEM and EPA, it’s just a project that has to be done,” Wright said.

If the town doesn’t take action, a sewer ban could be issued, resulting in no new system hookups being allowed. That could impact economic development, too, because a new factory coming into the industrial park wouldn’t be able to hook into the system, Wright said.

“IDEM wants this cleaned up, and we don’t have any choice,” he said. “It’s a lot of money to do something that obviously the benefit is in the long run — you eliminate the discharges into the environment. I know that’s a tough pill to swallow. Especially for a small community, it’s really tough.”

The project is estimated to cost around $6 million. The town council has approved a bond ordinance not to exceed that amount, a bond anticipation note for up to $550,000 and an engineering contract for nearly $900,000.

Wright and Trena Carter with Administrative Resources association are helping the town apply for grant money for the project. They also applied for the State Revolving Fund, which provides low-interest loans to Indiana communities for projects that improve wastewater and drinking water infrastructure.

Since the town needs easements from property owners and the State Revolving Fund is involved, Carter said they have to follow those processes.

Nine property owners attended the Feb. 19 meeting at the town hall, where they learned more about the project and what will be required of them.

As part of the town applying for Community Development Block Grant funding, Carter said the next step for the property owners is to have a market estimate performed on their property.

The town has to have all of the acquisitions and easements signed to be awarded State Revolving Fund money, she said.

The final part of the town’s long-term compliance plan will involve installing an overflow pipe parallel to the main line going to the wastewater treatment plant off of Bethany Road and making some modifications to the plant to handle stormwater.

“We’re putting in an overflow pipe that will flow to the plant and be held inside of a storage tank and then pumped into the plant and treated,” Wright said. “Some of it, we’re required to have 100% treated for a certain amount of the flow, and then the rest of the flow will be partially treated and discharged, so you’ll have a separate system inside the plant.”

The parallel line will run east of Kovener Street where the sewer line runs along the north side of Hominy Ditch, run down to the plant and be held in storage in a pump station and pumped into the plant, Wright said.

“This will mean that 100% of the flow that stays in the pipe will go into the plant and be treated fully, but then the excess flow will go into this system, and it will go to the EQ basins inside the plant, where it will be subjected to chlorine at that point and go through disinfection and then it will be discharged,” he said.

There will be 11 new manholes along the line placed next to existing manholes.

“When the existing manhole gets flooded and filled up because of all of the stormwater coming into town, there will be an underground interconnect between the two that will overflow into this new trunk line system,” said John Megel, a resident project representative for FPBH.

The overflow will travel toward a new stormwater detention facility, which will consist of a series of 84- and 96-inch pipes buried next to the road to the wastewater treatment plant, Wright said.

There also will be a new wet weather pumping station and valve pit. The new overflow main will route wet weather flows directly to the pumping station and detention piping.

“It’s intended to just take all of the pressure off that main so none of the manholes will pop open,” Wright said. “The idea is that the new main, 99% of the time, there won’t be any flow in it. It will be really nice if there was never any flow in it, but the whole point of this project is that there is flow, and we have to get it out of the system without having it come out of the manholes that exist.”

Parts of the long-term plan already completed include repairs to increase capacity at the wastewater treatment plant between 2011 and 2013, replacing three culverts along Hominy Ditch at Bethany Road, Park Avenue and Kovener Street to assist with stormwater management within the town in 2016 and replacing a lift station and completing stormwater repairs around the intersection of Seymour Road and Cindy Lane in 2019.

“That eliminated some of that flow that was coming into the plant, but not enough still,” Wright said of the latter project. “We knew it wouldn’t, but that’s just one of the parts of the CSO compliance plan.”

James Colwell, who lives on Bethany Road near the wastewater treatment plant, said new culverts, lines and bridges in the area in recent years have helped with drainage and flooding issues.

“This here has really been a blessing. … That has helped a ton,” he said. “They’ve done a bunch of work there at Bethany Road. They took a big relief off of us.”

James Foster, who owns four lots at Park and Rider avenues, agreed.

“That made that piece of ground somewhat useful now. Before, it wasn’t,” he said.

Councilman Jamy Greathouse said the town is there to provide support to residents.

“We’re going to do our best with all of this coming through to make this as easy on you and leave as little bitter taste in anybody’s mouth that we possibly can,” he said.

“We want to make this as seamless and easy and smooth a process as we possibly can … and everybody come out of this smelling as much like a rose as we possibly can,” he said. “We’re going to have to do what we have to do, but we’re going to try to make it as palatable as we possibly can across the board.”

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What: Public hearing about the combined sewer overflow compliance project in Crothersville

When: 6 p.m. Tuesday before the Crothersville Town Council’s regular monthly meeting

Where: Crothersville Town Hall, 111 E. Howard St.

Who: Open to the public and press


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