Riverbank stabilization in works

To protect Seymour’s Water Pollution Control facility from falling into the East Fork White River, the plant is working on a project to stabilize the river bank and prevent further erosion.

The problem has grown over the years as the riverbank continues to erode from behind the plant, said WPC utility director Randy Hamilton.

“This is endangering the outfall and will eventually put the plant itself at risk,” he said.

An outfall is where the plant pumps treated sewage into the river.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management has ordered the city to fix the problem, Hamilton said.

If the erosion is not addressed, the plant or at least some of it, will “drop into the river one day,” he added.

Stabilization efforts will include fortifying areas of the bank with concrete material and some fill just north of the plant’s outfall.

The plant is waiting on approval of state and federal permits, but has already started stockpiling the needed materials for the project, Hamilton said.

The work should be completed by spring or early summer, depending on the weather, he added.

The project is costing an estimated $95,000 for engineering and construction along with required permits from IDEM, the Army Corps and the state Division of Natural Resources. It will be paid for through the sewer utility’s sanitation revenues, Hamilton said.

He expects costs to be reduced, however, thanks to a donation of waste and unused concrete material from local supplier Shelby Concrete.

“We are also looking at getting additional material from other road and building construction sites,” he added.

Instead of hiring a contractor, the plant will be doing most of the work in-house after recently purchasing more than $200,000 in construction equipment to repair sanitary and stormwater sewers.

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January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.