Portage utility panel considering $5 million in 'urgent' projects

2013-08-14T17:53:00Z 2013-08-14T19:26:13Z Portage utility panel considering $5 million in 'urgent' projects Joyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

PORTAGE | The Utility Services Board on Wednesday approved commissioning a financial capacity study to determine if the department can afford more that $5 million in projects.

City Engineer John Hannon said officials have reviewed a 2010 master plan update and 2011 Phase 2 Wastewater Master Plan. The plans recommend several collection system and wastewater treatment plantĀ  upgrades, including some $5 million in projects that need to be completed immediately.

"We have some work to do and that work is urgently needed," Hannon told the board.

Among the most urgent projects is rehabilitating the primary sanitary sewer interceptor line. Hannon said the large pipe, which runs from U.S. 6 to the wastewater treatment plant, is the backbone of the sanitary sewer collection system. Small sewer lines feed into the main artery which takes sewage to the plant.

In addition, the Robinwood lift station needs rehabilitating and the primary clarifier at the treatment plant needs to be replaced.

He also told the board there are second phase projects needed to rehab the treatment system and plant that should be considered in the near future and a third tier of projects that should be done in the next 10 to 15 years. He did not have cost estimates for those projects.

Hannon said it is likely a bond issue will finance the projects.

The first step would be the financial capacity study to determine the department's ability to take on new capitol projects. Hannon said it would take at least six months to complete the study and finance the projects. If approved, work likely would be done on the first phase projects next year.

It would also allow them to begin planning and design for the second phase of projects, he said.

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