By Nicholette Carlson
NORTH WEBSTER — At the mid-afternoon public hearing Monday, Feb. 8, of the Tippecanoe and Chapman Lakes Regional Sewer District, a presentation was made by Steve Henschen, a representative from Jones Petrie Rafinski regarding the preliminary engineering report.
The district would treat more than 320,000 gallons of waste created inside the district surrounding Tippecanoe and Chapman lakes.
There will be seven board members with four-year terms.
The history of the project was briefly outlined, beginning in 1994 with a multitude of sewer studies, with the result being the recommendation of a sewer system.
A sewer district has been shown to be necessary since there may not be adequate capacity for the wastewater created by property owners around Tippecanoe and Chapman lakes. Some concerns include the homes and area soil are under the minimum size and not conducive to an on-site septic. Meeting the health department’s requirements is also not possible in many areas around the lakes. A sewer system would fix these issues. In 2019, creation of the district began.
At this meeting, Henschen mentioned three wastewater collection system alternatives. One is a pressure sewer system, which consists of grinder pump station forcing wastewater through a pressure main network. These grinder pumps would typically be shared between adjacent property owners. A vacuum sewer system has no pump, but involves a valve sucking wastewater to a centrally located main vacuum station. Customers connect via valve pit units, which can accommodate four residential homes, though only two are recommended. Finally, a hybrid system utilizing both pressure and vacuum sewer systems was discussed. This system would include grinder pump stations, lift stations, vacuum stations and buffer stations. The hybrid system could either be 50/50 or 90/10 between vacuum and pressure systems.
Following a cost analysis, the pressure system would have lower construction costs, but higher operating costs. The vacuum system would have higher construction costs, but lower operating costs. The pressure system has the lowest overall cost of the alternative options.
Regionalization with the Warsaw Wastewater Treatment Plant also seems to be the most cost-effective option. Wastewater would be pumped from Tippecanoe and Chapman lakes and connect to Warsaw’s gravity sewer system on CR 100E, where it would be transported to the treatment plant.
There would be four pump stations, two each on Tippecanoe and Chapman lakes.
Due to the district wanting to work with homeowners on a convenient location for the drainage pump on each property, the total cost of the project, based on a pressure sewer system and regionalization with the Warsaw treatment plant, increased slightly to approximately $41 million.
A project schedule was reviewed. Henschen stated the design should be completed between November and December of this year. By March 2022, the district should be issued the necessary permits so bids can be received in February or March. Construction would likely start in April 2022. The overall project will take approximately two years to complete. Following construction completion, customers could begin connecting to the sewer in June or July 2024.
Following Henschen’s presentation, questions and comments were provided by the public.
One question regarding keeping the septic tanks as a backup to avoid clogging the grinders. Henschen explained that, once connected, certain regulations must be kept, which would not allow this. However, for high sewage areas such as hotels or campgrounds, trap tanks would be installed for extra protection. Another question involved whether the septic tank would need to be removed. Henschen described the typical process is, once a grinder station is installed, the septic tank is pumped out and abandoned.
For those who have newer septic tanks, Henschen said there would be available exemptions, after a couple asked about specifics on a new property they are having built. He stated each property owner will receive information in the mail regarding their available exemptions in the coming months.
A copy of the PER can be found under the documents tab at www.tippychapmanrsd.com.
This public hearing would then be brought before the board at the evening’s district monthly meeting.