VALPARAISO | The city's Utilities Board should be ready by July to make a recommendation whether the water supply should continue to come from the ground or from Lake Michigan via another supplier.
The Valparaiso board approved a contract Tuesday with financial consultant H.J. Umbaugh and Associates for $35,000 to do a rate analysis looking at four alternatives with a total of 10 options. The alternatives include a new treatment plant and changing from producing water to buying it.
Utility Director Steve Poulos said the last time a study like this was done was 11 years ago.
Umbaugh Partner Scott Miller said the study should be completed in 45 to 60 days. Poulos said a study of the engineering costs of the different options is being done by Arcadis, and information will be fed into the Umbaugh calculations. Poulos said he expects to be ready to make a presentation to the board within four months.
All neighboring communities get water from Indiana American Water, which gets its water from Lake Michigan. Valparaiso's water comes from wells, and the city is seeking new well sites. The studies will determine if well water will be sufficient to meet the city's future needs.
Umbaugh will study the impact of the Indiana American rates on the city's customers and how the costs should be allocated to residential, commercial and industrial customers. Miller said new rate studies should be done every three to five years, but rate structure proposed in the study are usually good for 20 years or more.
The board also approved a contract with McMahon and Associates for the design of a replacement water main on LaPorte Avenue between the roundabout at Sturdy Road and Lincolnway to just west of Roosevelt Road. Cost of the design is $30,250, and Assistant Distribution Manager Mark Geskey said the work will be done this summer.
Geskey said the existing main is 75-80 years old and has had 50 breaks since 1983.