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Price for WWTP project increases 25%

Price for WWTP project increases 25% Price for WWTP project increases 25%
Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]

The estimated budget for the Berkshire Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion project continues to rise as time passes and more problems are fully discovered. What was, as of last meeting, a $2.8 million project has now raised to a $3.5 million project.

Bob Woosley, of Heritage Engineering, explained at the monthly Harrison County Regional Sewer District board meeting Friday morning that they had hoped to be able to line a section of the piping under the Berkshire Mobile Home Park, located east of New Salisbury, which would keep costs down. However, after televising the lines recently, he said the lining route was no longer an option as the pipes were “atrocious and not even worth saving.”

Steve Tolliver, the system operator with Aqua Utility Services, echoed Woosley’s sentiments, saying that the “situation has gotten critical; it’s not just bad, it’s really bad.”

However, to include those pipes in the application for money from the state revolving funds requires the sewer district to be in ownership of them, something it currently is not.

The district plans to meet with SSK Communities, owners of the system underneath the mobile home park, to further discuss the possibilities of taking ownership of that system.

Woosley explained that fixing that collection system and piping would be phase 1 of the expansion project and would be something that could be done without a drastic rate increase for customers. However, if the rest of the project is completed, which includes things like upgrading the treatment plant and replacing the force main, customers could see a dramatic rise in rates.

Woosley and board president Tom Tucker went before both the county commissioners and council this past month in hopes to put the district’s hat in the running for Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act dollars that the county will receive soon.

However, Harrison County Commissioner Nelson Stepro explained at a prior meeting that until the county is able to stabilize funds and prepare next year’s budget, he didn’t believe anyone was prepared to delegate where CARES money would go moving forward.

Woosley said he plans to hear back by July on the submitted request for state revolving funds, and then the district will be able to make bigger decisions regarding the expansion.

In his operations report, Tolliver said there were three heavy rainfalls this month that brought overflow and infiltration to the Berkshire plant. He said his team is currently checking on that system five times a week, but at this rate it might have to go to seven with the amount of overflow they are seeing. He noted during dry periods it functions well, but during rain periods is where they are really struggling with the system.

In other business, the district decided to increase rates by 5% for its customers at the Lanesville interchange system and the New Salisbury system. This change will start in May’s billing period but will be seen on the June bill.

At last month’s meeting, the board voted to increase its Corydon rates by 4%. Tucker noted that with the hopes of expansion and the oncoming customers with the various housing developments taking shape, these increases are something the district had to do.

The regional sewer district board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Friday, May 21, at 8:30 a.m. at the government center in Corydon.