By Caleigh Byrer
Tippecanoe and Chapman Regional Sewer District has made monumental progress this year on the new septic elimination project, which has been merely a topic of discussion since the 1990’s.
The need for a conservancy system has been discussed for decades, but the project received a push from individuals living in the area between 2016 and 2017. Around that time, through a petition, the percentage of stakeholders who wished to be a part of the project reached an optimal number.
Planning, studies and the formation of the board laid the foundation for the project not long after.
This project is now entirely off the ground despite setbacks by COVID-19 in 2020, which CEO of Jones Petrie Rafinski, Ken Jones, referenced earlier this year. “We probably bid the project in one of the worst economic conditions that we could have, however, our partnerships with the funding agencies didn’t allow us to introduce any delay, so we kept pushing forward,” he said.
The $51 million project is one of the largest — if not the largest — infrastructure projects to occur in Kosciusko County.
At the beginning of the year, the board was still working out project logistics such as design, formulating a rate analysis and funding.
In December, a groundbreaking ceremony was held at Pump Station number two where board members, funding agencies and other supporters of the project gathered to celebrate the beginning of construction.
There was a significant amount of work done between the board, engineering team and other affiliated companies to ensure the project moved forward rapidly throughout 2022.
As of now, production is underway in the Chapman Lake area, crews are actively making progress in the West Tippecanoe area and work in the East Tippecanoe area will be commencing this month.
“We have first class contractors on this project, I don’t think the board could be happier with our engineering team,” said Board President Jon Tyler. While the project may take time to complete, the board is confident that they will make substantial progress in the new year.
“2023 will be all about the construction. We have two contractors working simultaneously under three contracts to get the infrastructure in place,” Tyler stated.
The project will likely take until 2024 to complete entirely, so most of the boards focus will be directed to on-the-ground operations, customer hook-ups and making payments through the new year.