ST. JOHN | Businesses already have been asked to reduce how often they water lawns, and town officials are hoping residents will cut back on sprinkling, too.
St. John Town Manager Steve Kil told the Board of Waterworks on Thursday that the town is complying with a request to voluntarily reduce water consumption because of the drought affecting much of the state. A group of agencies including the Indiana Department of Environmental Management wants to reduce water use by at least 10 percent statewide.
“It’s no big secret that we’ve had record heat and everybody is watering like crazy,” Kil said. “We’ve contacted the businesses and corporations in town and the ball fields. We've asked them to change their sprinkling pattern to every other day.”
Residents haven’t been formally asked to make the change. However, if residents decrease lawn watering it would help meet IDEM’s request while it is still voluntary, Kil said.
“If communities don’t do it voluntarily, IDEM will mandate it,” he said.
Board member Ken Gembala asked that information on reducing water consumption be put on town's water bills and its website.
In other business, the Waterworks Board authorized Kil to advertise for bids to make improvements at two of the town’s four wells.
Well house Nos. 3 and 5 need to be physically raised to prevent future flooding. The well houses also need electric service improvements, Kil said.
Officials have been planning for the well house improvements for about two years. The engineering work has been completed, and the project is ready to go out for bid, Kil said.
Engineering estimates for the work are about $250,000, he said.
The board also opened two bids for a water main replacement along Olcott Avenue. Board Chairman Michael Forbes said three bids would have been better but the project needs to get under way this construction season.
The 40-year old cast iron pipe has created problems because it breaks in different places, causing water pressure to drop in fire hydrants, homes and businesses, Kil said.
The two bids included removal of mature trees in the area around the water main, replacement of sidewalks that will be affected by the main removal, installation of new plastic piping and re-landscaping of the area.