Water topics dominate at Board of Works

Thursday, October 16, 2014

It was water, water everywhere when the Greencastle Board of Public Works and Safety submersed itself into its October meeting Wednesday afternoon.

On the heels of Tuesday night's City Council adoption of a 47 percent water rate hike -- set to take effect with December billing (payable by Jan. 10) -- Greencastle Water and Wastewater Supt. Rob Lovell updated the Board of Works on the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) compliance that prompted that rate increase.

Lovell said he has been working with City Attorney Laurie Hardwick on a timeline for the compliance effort, noting that if that timetable is met, the city "should be complaint March 30."

That would gibe with an IDEM edict that has given the city 18 months (from last October) to make the necessary changes to its water system. That edict has dictated city compliance was due in April 2015.

"We're working on getting more capacity out of our wells," Lovell said, noting that a new motor is necessary in Well 3 and possibly other wells as well.

That new motor will cost $16,638, Lovell said, which comes within the department's budget and thus requires no additional approval by the Board of Works.

Nonetheless, board members Trudy Selvia, Thom Morris and Mayor Sue Murray gave the project their "blessing" with Selvia urging Lovell to look into purchasing the necessary replacement motors as a group to possibly capitalize on the economies of scale in buying more than one at a time.

With the well motor purchase designed to help secure additional capacity, the mayor called the move "just one of the many steps along the way to becoming compliant."

Meanwhile, the board also dealt with a water issue at the Old National Bank downtown location

Old National, represented by Cara Goodin at the City Hall meeting, requested a one-time adjustment to its monthly sewage bill after accruing a $730.38 sewage bill when someone opened an outside spigot near the drive-through and left it running last month.

"At least it (the water) didn't go to the wastewater plant," Selvia noted.

"No," Goodin agreed. "It just ran down the street."

And ultimately into a storm sewer.

In the aftermath, the outside spigots at Old National now all have locks on them, Goodin said, to prevent such action from recurring.

The bank's normal monthly sewage bill is $67.34, city officials noted. That means the adjustment sought by the bank was for $663.04.

As a guideline, the city allows only one such adjustment per account per year.

The bank had another similar situation occur last winter when a snow removal crew broke off a spigot but that involved a different account, it was noted.

The one-time adjustment was unanimously approved after a motion by Selvia.

In other business, the board:

-- Approved a $6,500 change-order for work on the home at 112 Bloomington St. as part of the owner-occupied rehab project funded through the city's Stellar grant.

-- Authorized Mayor Murray to issue a notice of award for the selection of Civil Engineering, Greencastle, to do the engineering work on the Vine Street streetscape project.

A Jan. 15 bid letting is slated for the project, which will follow the same construction schedule as this year's Indiana Street project. That means construction will commence in late March or early April with completion due the second week of August.

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