Lakeland Regional Sewer District, serving the Barbee Lakes area, is taking off. The lakes included in the district include Big Barbee, Little Barbee, Banning, Kuhn, Sechrist, Irish and Sawmill.
The district also takes in Grassy Creek north to East 500 North, better known as Armstrong Road. It does not include Lake Tippecanoe. The service area is in Tippecanoe Township, Kosciusko County.
After years of jumping through governmental hoops and public objections, the dream of those wanting to improve and protect the quality of water in the lakes and surrounding area now and for future generations is on the way to being a reality.
The entire project of building a wastewater treatment plant and installing sewer lines, lifts and other necessary equipment is estimated to cost $24.5 million and is being completely funded by a 40 year loan from the USDA Department of Rural Development. DLZ Indiana LLC – Architects, Engineers, Planners, Surveyors of Fort Wayne submitted the final engineering plans for the system to the USDA Rural Development May 1 on behalf of LRSD. A response from the USDA has not been received yet.
The loan and ongoing operating and maintenance expenses of the utility will be paid for by the collection of monthly fees from all the users of the system, according to the LRSD website. The estimated monthly fee after service is available will be about $67 based on a 2010 study by the board’s rate consultant, Umbaugh and Associates. Of course, many things could impact the rates including inflation, changes to Indiana law, and the fact that some property owners have refused to sign easements.
It is mandatory to connect to the system even with a functioning septic system if the property is within the district (see map) and is not applicable for a limited exemption and if the building foundation is within 300 feet of a public sewer or if the property is on a body of water and the property line is within 300 feet of a public sewer. This is required by USDA funding guidelines and by Indiana Code of Law.
Property owners will be notified by mail when the sewer main and wastewater treatment plant are completed. Instructions will be given then on how to proceed and by what time. Applications and guidelines will be available from the district then.
Current board members of the LRSD are President Jim Haney, Mike DeWald, Brad Jackson, John McDaniel, Bob Marcuccilli, Greg Mitchell and Bob Sanders. Monthly meetings are posted in The Mail-Journal calendar of events and on the calendar at StaceyPageOnline.com. The next meeting of the board will be held 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4, at the North Webster Community Center. Further information is available through the website, www.lakelandrsd.com.
The sewer district maintains an office inside the North Webster Community Center, 301 N. Main St. (SR 13). Hours are currently 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays; and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. A notary is available. For more information, call 574- 529-2383.