BAINBRIDGE -- The town of Bainbridge was recently awarded $917,500 in grant funding to complete a Water Improvements Project, which clerk-treasurer Jason Hartman said is "a big boost for the town."
"I anticipate with the grant that rates will not go up for quite some time in the water utility," Hartman said.
The funds will go toward complete rehabilitation of the Bainbridge's existing 150,000 gallon elevated water storage tank, replacement of all 380 existing meters with new radio read meters, and improvements to the water treatment plant including installation of a new filter, replacements of the media in the existing filters, replacements of the existing high service pumps, chlorination system, electrical and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems.
"This is a big grant for us," he said, noting that the water tower project would have cost the town around $300,000 had it not received the grant. "It's a great saving to us there. We would have had to finance."
Hartman added that repainting the tower -- built in 1979 with lead-based paint -- would extend the life of the paint for 30 years.
The water plant will also have a direct connection on a wireless system to directly connected to the well field, which will save on the town's phone bill, Hartman said.
The plant will also have a new filter with new media installed as well as a remote-read metering system, which will allow town officials to be able to read meters instantaneously, further saving the town money on the labor cost of sending someone to read individual meters.
"If there's a water leak, I can receive an alert that water has been run continuously, so I can call the customer. With the old system, no one may know a leak exists until the end of the month, which will hopefully be a thing of the past."
The next step in the project is to select engineers to develop the specifications necessary for bidders to consider. Bids will be accepted until March 31, Hartman said.
The town can request the first draw of the grant on May 31, 2011.
Lt. Governor Becky Skillman recently announced that in addition to Bainbridge, 37 other Hoosier communities will receive grants totaling $34,423,314 for water infrastructure projects.
These grants are funded by an appropriation for disaster recovery efforts from the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and were made available to aid in economic recovery after several natural disasters caused damage in many areas across the state during 2008.
Indiana's CDBG Disaster Recovery program is administered by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.
"These communities sustained extensive damage during flooding in 2008, and completing these projects will prevent a similar setback in the future," Skillman said. "Adequate water infrastructure and wastewater treatment is not only imperative to the health and well-being of a community's residents, but it's necessary for economic growth, too."
Grants are awarded through a competitive application process. Community distress needs, percentage of low-to-moderate income households served, and the project's impact on overall economic recovery efforts were considered in the scoring procedure.
OCRA provides technical assistance to community leaders during the 18-month implementation of their storm water improvement projects.