Uniontown wastewater project moves forward

BROWNSTOWN — The Jackson County Commissioners recently took the next step in a multi-million dollar proposal that would provide wastewater collection, treatment and disposal services to an underserved area on the east side of the county.

The project, which will provide those services to existing and potential customers in the Uniontown area at Interstate 65 and State Road 250, will be completed in phases.

It is being designed and constructed in anticipation of attracting development and could promote significant growth and benefit the current residents and businesses in the area, according to a recently completed study. The study, entitled the Uniontown Wastewater Study, recently was completed by Indianapolis-based HWC Engineering at a cost of $25,000.

After discussing the study during a commissioners meeting in early October, it was decided to try to keep the cost to $10 million for the first phase of the project. The project will be funded through a variety of sources, including some of the $8.58 million the county received through the American Rescue Plan Act and a Regional Economic Acceleration Development Initiative grant of $1.85 million.

During their meeting Tuesday morning at the Jackson County Courthouse, commissioners accepted the study.

That’s the next step in moving the project forward, said Craig Luedeman, a business development manager for HWC Engineering.

He said the next step in the process is presenting the study to Indiana Economic Development Corp. in November to gain approval for the use of the READI funds.

“And then we start figuring out all of the pieces going forward,” Luedeman said.

The proposed implementation schedule has construction starting in August 2024 with completion set for February 2026.

He said the first part of the project, phases 1A and 1B, would be the first to be taken to the IEDC. The areas include commercial and potential light industrial areas along State Road 250 on both sides of Interstate 65 and along U.S 31 south of Uniontown. Some existing residential areas are located in the project area.

The first part of the project also includes a wastewater treatment plant to be built about 2.2 miles west of Uniontown near the Vernon Fork of the Muscatatuck River and three lift stations.

As part of the study, 255 acres were evaluated for Phase 1A. That acreage consists of approximately 51 acres of existing commercial properties, and 19 acres are existing residential properties with about 13 homes. The remaining acreage is for light industrial development.

Phase 1B consists of 42 acres for possible commercial development and approximately 280 acres for industrial development.

Luedeman said phases 2 and 3 are in the future. Those have an estimated $10 million price tag.

Commissioners President Matt Reedy said Wednesday that the original cost was $7 to $8 million a couple of years ago, but with the increase in the costs of everything, the estimated cost is now about $10 million.

He said once the wastewater treatment plant is up and running, it will be managed by the Jackson County Regional Sewer District, which presently serves the Freetown and Reddington areas. The district also serves about 264 homes in an area south of Seymour, and waste from those homes is sent to the city of Seymour’s collection system for treatment.

Phase 2 would incorporate the regional sewer district areas in the Uniontown system, while Phase 3 includes the areas surrounding phases 1A and 1B.