Now that a combined sewer overflow project has been awarded, Crothersville officials can move forward with determining how much of an increase residents will see on their sewer bills.
During a Crothersville Town Council meeting Monday night, it was announced that Dave O’Mara Contractor Inc. of North Vernon had the lowest bid at $4,841,473.
Brad Bender with FPBH Inc. said 21 companies picked up bid packets, and nine of them submitted bids with all of the paperwork in order.
Bender recommended the council approve the contingent award to Dave O’Mara subject to financing. That was unanimously approved.
The good news is the construction bid came in 13% lower than the engineer’s estimate.
"So it’s going to save you money on your financing across the board," Bender told the council.
"Once those numbers get plugged in, hopefully by next month, we’ll have a better picture of what that rate that we’re going to be looking at actually is, and hopefully, it is significantly lower than our initial reports," Councilman Jamy Greathouse said.
During a council meeting in September, Steve Brock with Therber Brock and Associates presented two options for financing of the project through the State Revolving Fund.
The council agreed to go with the pool loan program that covers the whole project for 35 years. That option makes the town’s annual debt service payment lower, around $273,000.
The interest rate will be determined now that construction bids are in. Brock thought it would be less than 2.33% since interest rates are way below where they were last year.
If that’s the case, 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.
The monthly rate increase would go into effect in January or February.
Dan Wright, chief executive officer and geologist/environmental specialist for FPBH Inc., said after information is submitted to Brock and the bond counsel, the council will have to approve a rate ordinance.
Loan closing with the SRF is scheduled for Dec. 12.
"You should be on track to get the closing taken care of and have everything as far as a contract and notice to proceed before the end of the year, which satisfies IDEM’s requirements," Bender said, referring to the agreed order from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
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. Years ago, Wright said it was a popular practice to design sanitary and wastewater together.
The town’s upcoming project will satisfy the terms of the CSO compliance plan.
"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.
The work 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.
Crothersville resident Jim Brock attended Monday’s meeting and said he had talked to Wright and Sewer Superintendent Mason Boicourt to see if his well would be affected by the project because it involves digging down 40 feet deep.
In the event his well is drained dry, Brock wanted to see if the town had a contingency plan to provide water to his home.
"The groundwater gradation in that area travels from the southeast to the northwest, so he’s actually going to be outside of the territory that would be affected by what we call the cone of depression from the dewatering wells, so I don’t anticipate this being an issue for him at all," Wright said.
If something happens and Brock is impacted, however, the council assured they would take care of him, either bringing in a water hauler or hooking him to a town water line.
"I think it’s a great project," Brock said. "It’s going to eliminate that raw sewage from going in the ditch out there. I think it’s really good that the town is moving forward after all of these years and getting this done. It’s a good thing. It will help out."
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.
Bender said the substantial completion date is May 2022, and final completion is July 2022.
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.