The city of Portage and the city of Valparaiso are working together to provide lower utility costs for residents living in northern parts of Porter County.
To that end, the Portage Sanitary Board is entering into a new agreement with Valparaiso Utilities called the Damon Run Conservancy District (DRCD) Wastewater Services Agreement Assignment.
The city of Valparaiso intends to buy the Damon Run sanitary sewer assets. That means the Valparaiso City Utilities will own, maintain and provide service for 12 miles of gravity and force-main sewers.
The purchase agreement is expected to be presented to the conservancy district and the Valparaiso Utility Board of Directors soon.
Portage has provided wastewater treatment for Damon Run residents since 2005.
The city of Valparaiso has conducted land planning and economic development studies to determine the growth of lands adjacent to Valparaiso city limits. These studies identify the need for water and sewer infrastructure to serve those lands and attract future development.
Steve Poulos, Valparaiso's utilities director, said the agreement will serve the city's future growth.
"We want to establish our borders as far as the future is concerned as far as utility, we want to protect our interest and then we think we have the ability of growing the corridor over a period of time," Poulos said. "These actions, of course, will also provide a benefit to the Damon Run customers as far as financial relief is concerned."
Over 600 acres between North Ind. 149 and Ind. 49 and north and south of U.S. 6 in unincorporated Porter County are served by the DRCD. Water is provided by Indiana American Water.
Poulos said Damon Run customers pay an average of around $3,000 per year for water and sewer services. With the wastewater services from Portage and the new sewer services run by Valparaiso, Damon Run residents are expected to see a reduction in cost by 30%.
The Damon Run Conservancy District serves 360 residential customers and fulfills a contract serving outside district customers, including Porter Regional Hospital, Sunset Hill County Park and Liberty Schools.
Portage's sanitary board agreed to update its agreement to provide wastewater services, pending Valparaiso's City Council ultimate approval. The term is set for 10 years and the agreement now includes an amendment concerning if Portage wanted to annex land east of North Ind. 149.