There is one area to complete the sewers around Lake Wawasee by the Turkey Creek Regional Sewer District. The South Shore-Waco Drive Area Project affects 347 potential customers. But if enough commitments are not received to make it economically feasible, the project will halt and sewering will not happen.
Contact and informal meetings are being held with those in S.W.A.P. to explain the project and what would be required of homeowners.
“We just started (meeting with residents),” said Dick Green, legal counsel for TCRSD, adding there has been favorable response. “We’re just starting, so we don’t know what the numbers will be or what areas within S.W.A.P. will be left out.” He explained some areas may be too dense or not have enough connections, to make it economically feasible to run the line. Such an example is 15 residences, but only four sign up.
Potential customers are being asked to sign a sewer connection agreement now to commit to connect to the sewer and determine if enough commitments are received to “make installation economically feasible, i.e. reasonable rates.” Should the project fail, those who committed will receive an affidavit releasing them from the commitment.
“The entire project will consist of a force main installed in the right of way,” said Green. This will run from the dead end of George Street, following the lakeside road up through Trusdale, down Waco Drive, Ideal Beach and South Shore Drive, where it will connect into the present system at Wawasee Middle School. The project calls for installing a lift station near South Shore and Vawter Park Road, a new lift station to take pressure off the A1A station in Enchanted Hills, increase the size of pumps in four lift stations and enlarge the treatment plant to increase the capacity to receive the additional sewage.
Property owners involved will be responsible to purchase and install a grinder pump to place where they desire on their property and run a sewer line from the home to the pump and the pump to the force main. The force main will be installed on the lakeside in the right-of-way. Homeowners will be responsible for destroying the old system as required by law. Engineering estimates indicate this will cost homeowners approximately $5,000 to $8,000. The sewer district will not dictate who does the work as along as the pump and line meet required specifications.
Green noted this final phase of the district has an estimated cost of $5 million. The S.W.A.P. area is estimated at $1 million.
The TCRSD trustees feel the time is now or never. “In light of the legislative environment and trend, they believe it is now or never, more restricting nearly every legislature. We are taking extra steps to see if it can be put in. It’s not going to get any better. It’s now or probably never going to get done,” said Green.
Historically when other projects in TCRSD were done, the law stated if the system went by a property it was mandatory to connect. Since that time, the exemption concept has been liberalized, making it easier to be exempted. Finally in the last legislative session, made into law on July 1, the statue language changed from “functioning satisfactorily” to “not ailing.” “This is in effect flipping the burden 180 degrees on health departments and sewer districts. It’s impossible to prove that.”
While there is no deadline, “We will push until we get all contacted … then take a look,” said Green. Those who do not want to commit at this time may not get the opportunity to connect five plus years from now, if the project is killed.
“Even though you might think we don’t have a problem with your system, it doesn’t mean your not contributing to the detriment of the lake,” stated Green. “The benefit of the sewer is eliminating that fear of when the system is going to go bad. You’re stopping the possibility of actual contamination of Indiana’s most beautiful lake. In the short run the cost may seem excessive, but these are one time costs. If you look at the big picture over decades and generations, it’s really not a big cost.”