The Crothersville Town Council approved a Combined Sewer Overflow compliance plan to be submitted to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management when they met on Tuesday, Feb. 2.
Crothersville is like 118 other communities in Indiana under an IDEM mandate to reduce or treat surface water that makes its way to the town wastewater treatment plant.
When the Crothersville sanitary sewer system was designed and installed, surface water from streets and ditches were allowed to flow into the sewer system.
“The thinking back then was that during heavy rain events, the surface water would flush out the sewer lines keeping them clean and reduce maintenance,” said Dan Wright, a town engineer with FPBH of North Vernon.
During such rain events, the wastewater treatment couldn’t process all of the effluent and raw sewage would be allowed to flow into the discharge creek.
“Now we aren’t allowed to do that,” said Wright. “We either have to get the surface water out of the system or treat it.”
The signed compliance does not commit the town to any specific course of action.
“What they (IDEM) are looking for in this is an indication on your part as to what progress you intend to do,” explained town attorney Jeff Lorenzo.
What will probably occur is for the town to reduce the surface water infiltration to the plant by diverting rainwater from drainage ditches and curbside drains out of the combined sewer. Installation of storm sewers could be a part of the eventual plan.
The town has already closed off some inlets in ditches for surface water allowing the water to flow through natural drainage ways.
Wright explained that the town has completed monitoring the sewer system to determine where the greatest amount of surface water enters the system.
One area is believed to be along US 31 where INDOT drains surface water from the highway into ditches that flow into sewer system.
“Signing this compliance agreement gets us in compliance with the IDEM agreed order and gets you time to seek specific plans for accomplishing removing surface water,” said Wright.
And reducing the amount of water treated at the sewer plant is important for the manufacturing plants in the town’s industrial park.
Aisin Chemical IN, which is in the process of an expansion which will added additional jobs, will use about 50,000 gallons of water per shift in their manufacturing process. They will be pre-treating the water and recycling some, but their discharge, which must go into the sanitary sewer system, will be cleaner than the street and ditch water that the town is mandated by IDEM to remove.
In other business, the council hired reserve office Chris Cooper as a full-time police officer with the town. Cooper, whose father Mike is a sergeant with the Seymour Police Department, will be attending the Indiana Police Academy later this year.
Cooper will be paid $12.50 an hour and receive a 50¢ an hour raise when he completes the police academy.
The council tabled hiring a planned fourth officer until their March meeting in order to give adequate time to determine the financial feasibility.
Council President Lenvel ‘Butch’ Robinson reminded water utility customers that they will soon feel the effects of an automatic water rate increase.
“It goes into effect in March and customers will see the increase in their April bill,” said Robinson. The 1% increase means a 9¢ increase for the first 10,000 gallons of water used.
“I don’t think you will notice it on your bill,” said the council president.
On a motion by councilman Bob Lyttle, the council unanimously voted to remove the stop signs on Main Street at its intersection with Kattman Avenue.