Crothersville sewer rates increasing in early 2021



As a required combined sewer overflow project gets underway in Crothersville in 2021, residents will see an increase in their sewer bills.

During a Crothersville Town Council meeting Tuesday night, Steve Brock with Therber Brock and Associates presented two options for financing of the $6 million project through the State Revolving Fund.

The traditional loan program has an interest rate of 2.3% for 35 years; however, the town could only take the piping portion of the project for 35 years, and the rest would be for 20 years. Piping is 28% percent of the project.

The pool loan program covers the whole project for 35 years, but the interest rate won’t be known until construction bids come in.

After some discussion, the council unanimously approved the pool option, which also was Brock’s recommendation since he expects the interest rate to be lower than last year.

“I’m thinking it should be less than 2.33%,” he said. “Interest rates are way below what they were last year. It’s crazy how low the interest rates are.”

Based on an average monthly use of 4,000 gallons, a Crothersville resident would pay around $76 a month. Currently, the average bill is around $45.

“This is not necessarily what you’ll be paying. If you use less than 4,000 gallons, you won’t be automatically at this rate,” council President Danieta Foster said.

“Most people in town do not use 4,000. Most communities I go to don’t use 4,000,” Brock said, adding the Indiana Department of Environmental Management uses that number since it’s a statewide average, but it’s actually typically between 3,000 and 3,500.

Foster agreed going with the pool option is best.

“We want to do what’s best for the town, but we also have to think about the people that have to pay these rates,” she said. “It’s going to be a big jump no matter what. It’s better than it could be. It’s better than we thought it was going to be awhile back. … We are all doing everything we can to keep this as low as we can.”

The pool option also makes the town’s annual debt service payment lower. That would be around $273,000, compared to $312,000 for the traditional option.

The project includes building a new wet weather overflow main, installing an in-line hydrodynamic stormwater separator, constructing a duplex wet weather pumping station and force main, modifying existing plant surge basins with concrete wall cores and many other key improvements.

Earlier this year, the town council approved a bond ordinance not to exceed $6 million, a bond anticipation note for up to $550,000 and an engineering contract for nearly $900,000.

In August, the town received a big boost with being awarded a $700,000 Wastewater/Drinking Water Program grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs to put toward the project.

Foster said with that costly of a project and a budget the size of Crothersville’s, she knew there would be a rate increase for residents, but the grant will soften that blow.

Brock said once the construction bids are opened this fall, the town attorney will be able to draft a rate schedule for the council to adopt. He expects the rate increase to start in January or February, and the project will start early in the new year, too.

OCRA requires the bidding process for a project to be done within six months, and the project must be completed by the end of 2021 or early 2022.

Earlier this year, Dan Wright, chief executive officer and geologist/environmental specialist for FPBH Inc., said Crothersville’s CSO project is required based on the agreed order the town has with IDEM 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, he said 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 February 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.”

The upcoming 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 didn’t take action, a sewer ban could have been issued, resulting in no new system hookups being allowed. That could have impacted economic development, too, because a new factory coming into the industrial park wouldn’t be able to hook into the system, Wright said.

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.

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For information about combined sewer overflow projects in Indiana, visit


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