CLOVERDALE -- Since the town's $5 million sewer treatment plant was completed in March of 2008, there have been numerous problems.
The utility board has already taken steps to correct some of those problems, such as hiring a class two operator to manage the plant. However, the big problem has yet to be resolved and the board is desperately trying to find a solution.
The raw sewage pump was found to not be operating properly. It is either in on or off mode. There should be a variable speed mode to help prevent overflow issues. After a small rainfall, the plant overflows. Following a large rainfall, raw sewage is being spilled into Doe Creek.
The plant was designed to support the community through 20 years of growth. However, it is less than two years later, the town has not seen any growth -- in fact, it has shrunk in size -- and the plant is having overflow problems.
So, the utility board wants to know if the problem is a design flaw or an operational problem.
Engineer Mike Hunter with Triad, the company that designed the plant, was present at the utility board meeting Tuesday. He told board members the problem is not in the design of the pump, but an operational matter. Hunter also said the data used to design the plant was inconsistent.
However, Indiana Department of Environmental Management made a courtesy visit to the plant on June 24 and noted no operational problems. IDEM's concern is the overflow spilling into the creek caused by the malfunctioning raw sewage pump.
After several attempts at finding the exact problem and therefore a solution, the utility board voted to bring in a third party -- an engineer. Utility board president Don Sublett agreed to contact town attorney Allen Yackey for references on an outside engineer.
To help cover the cost of the engineer, the board is looking into a grant. During its meeting Tuesday, board members discussed the matter with grant writer Shannon McCloud.
In addition, utility board member Terry Puffer said the contract Cloverdale holds with Altra Biofuels to help dispose of its waste is not compounding the problem. He said the town is in control of when waste is brought through the plant from the biofuels plant.