By Deb Patterson
NORTH WEBSTER — A preliminary recommendation for a pressure sewer collection system with Warsaw as the collection point along with the district footing the bill for electric costs to run the pumps was approved Monday by the board of the Tippecanoe & Chapman Lakes Regional Sewer District. This action will move toward the finalization of the preliminary engineering report to submit for federal and state funding for the project.
The three-member engineering committee — Brian Davison, Jeff Thornburgh and Jon Tyler, along with board member Ed Ormsby met with Steve Henschen, Jones Petrie Rafinski engineer, 90 minutes prior to the regular meeting. The group reviewed information and costs of a pressure sewer system and vacuum system, each using Warsaw as a collection point or building a new wastewater treatment plant.
The preliminary costs for the four options were presented: $48,328,850.28 for a pressure system and new treatment plant; $52,571,073.78 for a vacuum system with a new treatment plant; $51,765,155.90 for a vacuum system with regionalization with Warsaw; and $48,209,126.49 for a pressure system with regionalization with Warsaw, including a $38,880,000 construction costs. While there was only approximately $120,000 difference between building a new facility and regionalization with Warsaw, several factors including IDEM and the state revolving fund potentially would frown on funding a project with a stand-alone plant when there is an existing option.
Pros and cons of the two systems were discussed at length in the committee meeting and were questioned during the regular meeting by Chuck Simpson, a board member. The pressure system would use directional boring, while construction of the vacuum system would be disruptive. It was also noted a vacuum system would not be suitable for the entire district, due to high water issues around Tippy. Henschen, who stated there were not many vacuum systems used in the state, relayed one system was shut down for three to four days due to being overwhelmed by high water. Quick resolution of problems and noise from the systems were also reviewed.
Another pro for the pressure system was there would be four pump stations compared to 10 larger potentially two-story buildings for the vacuum system. These buildings for the vacuum system could be 20-by-20 or 24-by-20 while the pump stations would be smaller and could be concealed with fencing or other screening methods. Noise and odors were also discussed during the engineering committee meeting.
Ed Ormsby noted there were four areas he considers important: costs, functionality, aesthetics and burden on the stakeholders. It was these four areas that steered the board to the pressure system.
During the presentation, Henschen provided the number of customers and the estimated gallons per day. A total of 2,381 customers around Tippecanoe, James and Chapman lakes were determined and estimated to produce 357,110 gallons per day – during the high season. The four pump stations would be located in the area of CR 405N and EMS C31 Lane, CR 175E and EMS C24 Lane, CR 650N and EMS T49 Lane and near Armstrong Road and Third Street in Oswego.
There was also a lengthy committee discussion on whether the electrical cost to operate the grinder pumps should fall on the district or homeowners. Costs scenarios were provided. The engineering committee recommended and the board agreed to absorb the electrical cost to operate the proposed 1,102 grinder pumps alleviating additional out-of-pocket costs for stakeholders and potentially having to upgrade their own electrical system. Simpson also requested further information prior to the consensus of the board.
While the exact location of where the grinder pumps would be located at this time was not determined, a preliminary proposal by the engineering committee was suggested regarding the location of grinder pumps outside of the right of ways up to 100 feet to potentially eliminate a gravity system needing to be installed. The proposal also provided an opportunity for an appeal.
Other matters before the board included a JPR project update with Henschen and Ken Jones presenting the information. Jones noted his team continues to be aware of the project schedule and everything is right on track. “The next couple of months will be a critical time.”
There was talk of having a pubic hearing prior to the Feb. 8 meeting to approve the PER. It was discussed the meeting also be available virtually as well as in person. A time and date will be announced. An informational meeting, allowing summer residents to attend, will be considered.
This hearing will be focused more on technical issues that are in the PER.
The board welcomed Andy Boxberger as its new attorney and directed Jeff Rowe with Baker Tilly to prepare a proposed rate structure to be included in the PER.
The next regular meeting of the board will be 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8, in the party room of the North Webster Community Center.