Council Reconsiders Water Utility Improvement Plan

A proposal last month to begin a study of the improvement needs of the Crothersville Water Utility system was shelved, at least temporarily, by the town council last Tuesday.

In January, nearing the conclusion of the completed wastewater treatment project, council president Ardell Mitchell proposed beginning to look at improvements and maintenance that may be needed at the town’s water utility. He proposed hiring an engineering firm to come up with a list of priorities.

“What is most important to look at first? Wells? Distribution? High tower? We need a professional engineering firm to review it for us,” said Mitchell.

However, reviewing any maintenance proposals for a study, caused councilmen Lenvel ‘Butch’ Robinson and Derrick Minton to prefer a “wait and see” posture.

Three proposals for a preliminary engineering study were submitted. Hannam, Wagle & Cline proposed to do a study for $8,500, FPBH (the town’s engineer on the wastewater project) proposed $5,000 and Saegasser Engineering proposed $1,250.

Mitchell noted that the scope of work proposed by HWC and FPBH was greater than that of Saegasser.

Both Robinson and Minton expressed concern that the town really doesn’t know where and what kind of waterlines are being used in much of the older parts of town. That is information an engineer needs to come up with a list of priorities for scheduled work.

Over the decades records of Crothersville’s water utility work were lost, misplaced or never kept, it was surmised.

“We can’t give an engineer the information on our infrastructure because we don’t what where and what it is,” said Minton.

Robinson agreed saying, “It is a bit of a shot in the dark if he (the engineering firm) can’t see in the dirt.”

“A lot of our lines are old,” said wastewater superintendent Mason Boicourt. “Our water leaks in 2012 weren’t concentrated in any one place but were all over the town. Our main concern at the water utility is the wells.”

Brad Bender of FPBH encouraged the town to “Study your supply (wells). Maintaining what you have should be a first step.”

“I’d rather spend money coming up with a way to separate the combined sanitary and storm sewer,” said Robinson.

While the town recently completed an over $3 million wastewater treatment project, “we still have a combined sewer system and will need, some day, to be separated,” said Mitchell.

He said heavy rain events still represent an overflow problem for the town.

“We still will need to report those to the state and keep the system maintained,” he said

In closing out the discussion on water utility concerns, Mitchell said, “Let’s track our time and money dealing with water leaks this year, mapping out where they are.”

In other business the council approved selling the old water treatment property on North Kovener Street to adjoining property owner and town councilman Lenvel Robinson who offered the high written bid of $7,600. The council approved the sale by a 2-0 vote with Robinson abstaining.

Large trash pick up dates have been set by the council for 2013.

The area of town south of Howard Street and east of the railroad will have large trash pick up on May 7; northeast will be May 14, and west of the railroad will be May 21.

The fall large trash pick up for those respective areas will be Oct. 8, Oct. 15, and Oct. 22.

It was noted that the Community Wide Yard Sales will be on Saturday, May 5, and Saturday Oct. 5.

The council announced that it would hold an executive session tonight (Feb. 13) at 6 p.m. to interview three prospective full-time police officer candidates. An opening exists due to the retirement of  Vurlin McIntosh.