Next phase of sewage plan to cost Huntington almost $10 million

The area outlined in red will be the site of a 2018 project to separate storm and sanitary sewers.
The area outlined in red will be the site of a 2018 project to separate storm and sanitary sewers. Graphic provided.

The next phase of a long-term plan to keep sewage out of area rivers will cost nearly $10 million, the Huntington Common Council learned on Tuesday, July 11.

The City of Huntington will sell bonds to pay for the work, and those bonds will be repaid through an increase in sewage fees of around $6 a month.

The three separate projects, scheduled to be under construction next year, are part of a nine-phase long-term control plan designed to keep untreated wastewater from flowing into area rivers as mandated by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

The plan was initially developed in 2003 and has since been updated several times, with the final component now set to be completed at the end of 2026.

The first of the 2018 projects involves cleaning out and rehabilitating a mile-long pipe that carries treated wastewater from the water pollution control facility on Hitzfield Street to the Wabash River. The pipe runs parallel to West Park Drive, discharging the treated water into the river at Ind.-9 and West Park Drive.

When the river level rises and the pipe is underwater, there’s not enough pressure to push the treated water down the pipe and into the river, explained Anthony Goodnight, the city's director of public works and engineering, prior to the meeting. Engineers initially planned to add a pump station to force the water down the pipe, a project that would have cost some $4 million, but have since determined that lining the pipe to repair areas that have deteriorated would produce enough velocity to keep the treated water moving.

The second project set for 2018 involves separating the storm sewers and sanitary sewers in an area on the east side of Huntington.That area includes about 40 acres bounded by Jefferson Street on the west and Center Street on the east; and bounded by the railroad tracks to the north and the Little River to the south.

The sewer separation project was chosen over an earlier proposal that would have seen a new sewer constructed from Warren Street to LaFontaine Street, a congested area that includes the Huntington County Courthouse and many businesses, said Joe Teusch of Greeley and Hansen, the environmental engineering firm that is designing the project.

The new sewer would have carried water away from the 40-acre area; separating the sewers in that area will reduce the flow to an amount that can be handled by existing sewers, he said, and will save $2 million.

The sewer separation project will also offer the opportunity to add new paving, curbs, sidewalks and trails in the area, Teusch said.
In addition, the city plans to move a project initially scheduled for 2026 up to next year. That project involves replacing a pump at the Rabbit Run lift station. Moving the project ahead will give the city three working pumps, providing the ability to continue to operate if one of the three pumps goes out, Goodnight said.

Rabbit Run was built in 1978-79 to carry all water from the south side of the city through a pipe under the river, Mayor Brooks Fetters explained.