Engineers to help town on sewer projects


An Indianapolis firm will help Brownstown officials know the scope of a $4.1 million sewer rehabilitation project.

Once work by Wessler Engineering is completed, the town will be able to move forward with a grant application and hire a contractor to begin working on the top-priority projects.

Wessler’s work, including time and materials, won’t exceed $31,000.

During Monday’s town council meeting at Brownstown Town Hall, Wessler engineer Brett McKinney said the first part of the work will be mapping the sanitary sewer system. The town’s current map is an aerial view with dots and lines on it.

Using GPS will help with not only this project but any work done in the town in the future, said Brent Siebenthal, president of Wessler. That map would be available for Scott Hunsucker, superintendent of Brownstown Wastewater Utility, and his staff to use for smoke testing or other work.

“It’s a timesaving, money-saving measure that we think you should probably go ahead and do now instead of later on in the game,” Siebenthal said.

For the mapping, two weeks would be spent in the field with survey equipment, and then at least another two weeks would be spent in the office getting everything drawn, Siebenthal said. His hope is to begin within the next three or four weeks.

But first, the company wants to prepare a draft quote package for sewer system cleaning and closed-circuit television inspections of the Priority 1 and 2 sewers in the town.

Siebenthal said he would like Hunsucker to review that before a contractor begins working, so Wessler can finalize the scope of the rehab project before the May 29 deadline.

Siebenthal said bids would be sought for cleaning and televising from three contractors. He estimates that project would take six weeks, weather-permitting, and cost $70,000.

Wessler’s final task would be to assist grant consultant Shannon McLeod with information she needs to get a grant application submitted.

Hunsucker said McLeod plans to send a letter of intent around the first of March, and the grant application is due May 29. The grant would be awarded in late July or early August.

The Priority 1 and 2 projects were identified in a past study by Wessler. At the Jan. 5 town council meeting, McLeod presented estimated costs for Priority 1 projects as recommended by Wessler ($555,200) and Priority 1 and 2 projects ($1,306,300).

Priority 1 projects address areas of the system most likely to fail the soonest. The study found 19 public defects (areas of inflow and infiltration of water into the system) and 53 defects on private property.

McLeod said the state Office of Community and Rural Affairs, which administers federal and state grant money, will approve only $400,000 for projects costing less than $1 million. That means the town will have to come up with $155,200 of its own money to pay for Priority 1 projects.

That’s money the town has in its sewer improvement fund, Clerk-Treasurer David Willey said.

The town’s sanitary sewer system was installed in the 1950s, and council President John Nolting said this work is necessary.

“We need to be proceeding on this thing,” he said. “We certainly don’t want our sewers collapsing on us here.”

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Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at or 812-523-7080.