WARSAW — Lakeland Regional Sewer District Board of Trustees’ first meeting of 2020 was held Jan. 15 at the LRSD wastewater plant, 5002 E. 100N, Warsaw. Trustees voted for officers to retain their positions from 2019.
Lengthy discussions were also held concerning the nature of eight check valve failures around the district. Additionally, the board also addressed LRSD’s northeast border, where some properties mistakenly hooked into North Webster’s sewer system.
In 2020, LRSD board officers will be: Jim Haney, president; Bob Marcuccilli, vice-president; Bob DeWald, treasurer; Parke Smith, secretary.
During engineering reports, DLZ project engineer Casey Erwin offered possible reasons for check valve failures around the district. Check valves are located between properties’ grinders and the force main. According to Matt Rippey, wastewater plant manager, their have been eight problems in sewer lines likely related to failed check valves in recent months, some requiring multiple call-outs. Two of the valves have been dug up and repaired.
Erwin said the valves’ manufacturer, Crane, has been contacted seven times; he said Crane is “starting to see more issues with valves” in other districts as well. The valves, said Erwin, have been “standard in the industry for 30 years.”
One check valve, which Erwin showed the board, appears to have failed after a plastic piece came dislodged, plugging the line; however, other valves may have failed for different reasons, such as pressure, although they are rated for two-to-three-times the pressure found in LRSD’s low-pressure system. Faulty installation has also not been ruled out in some cases.
During Astbury reports, Rippey reported one check valve “split in half” on Barbee Road. It was repaired and reported to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
Rippey said Astbury would begin doing spot checks where possible, and the board passed a motion allocating and amount not to exceed $5,000 to replace three valves causing repeated alarms at properties on EMS B22 and Barbee Lake Road.
Erwin also presented the board with a map showing a stretch of sewer along CR 500N and SR 13, where an oversized line exists, installed during the conservancy period prior to LRSD’s formation, where some properties within LRSD are hooked into North Webster’s system.
LRSD legal council, Andy Boxberger of Carson LLP, surmised the properties simply did not know where to go at the time; however, he recommended ensuring LRSD’s boundaries and rights are maintained in the future.
The board voted to extend LRSD’s engineering service agreement with DLZ until 2021.
Haney informed the board of a proposal by Astbury Wastewater to increase the company’s compensation by 11.51%, as per its operations contract with LRSD, which calls for an increase after four years. The 11.51% was calculated, in part, using the consumer price index, compounded since 2016.
However, according to Haney, the contract also stipulates a maximum increase of 5%, but if LRSD chose to hold Astbury to the 5% increase, Astbury could chose to exercise its right to terminate the agreement in two years. LRSD’s collection and billing contract contains similar language, Haney added.
In light of the fact Astbury has done “such a good job,” as DeWald commented, the board voted to negotiate both contracts, offering Astbury an 8.25% increase after four years with an annual CPI of no more than 3%.