Deadline near for Brownstown wastewater grant letters

BROWNSTOWN

Brownstown Wastewater Utility has received more than 70 letters of support for a grant application to begin rehabilitation of the town’s aging sanitary sewer system.

Town residents have until Dec. 18 to submit letters to Brownstown Town Hall.

“At first, they were trickling in. But now, they are arriving in bundles,” said Scott Hunsucker, superintendent of Brownstown Wastewater Utility. “We went from 20-something on Friday to 73 as of (Wednesday).”

Residents who have been affected by the sanitary sewer system have been asked to send a letter with information about issues experienced with the sanitary sewer line, what problems that caused and how many times it happened. The utility also wants to know if the issues were weather-related, if anything was damaged and if costs were incurred.

Those who haven’t experienced any issues also are encouraged to write letters. The more letters the town receives, the more points it will earn toward possibly receiving the $400,000 Office of Community and Rural Affairs grant, Hunsucker said.

“Maybe your house is not affected, but another one in the same neighborhood is having issues,” Hunsucker said. “We’re looking for you to send a letter that says, ‘Hey, I’m not having issues, but I know my neighbors have, and I don’t want to be next, so I’m all for (the town) getting the grant and getting this project started.’”

In November, Hunsucker sent out more than 500 letters to town residents seeking their comments.

“The people that call us all the time and say (the sewer) is backing up, now, we need them to tell us in a letter what’s happening,” Hunsucker said.

The grant application is due in March. If the town is successful in obtaining the grant, work can begin on the Priority 1 sanitary sewer lines and manholes.

Wastewater utility workers and Wessler Engineering officials performed cleaning and video inspections to help determine the sewer lines and manholes in town that are known to have the biggest issues.

The town’s sanitary sewer system was installed in the 1950s.

“We went through our cleaning logs. We keep track of the cleaning that we go up and do,” Hunsucker said. “Wessler has done smoke testing of the sewer lines, manhole inspections and pole cam, where they look 150 to 200 feet up into each manhole. Based on our logs and their data, they came up with the Priority 1, Priority 2 and Priority 3 sewer lines.”

The letters of support are important because they will back up the data gathered by the wastewater utility and Wessler Engineering, Hunsucker said.

The grant is for the first part of a multiple-phase rehabilitation project that has a price tag of $4.1 million.

Pull Quote

“The people that call us all the time and say (the sewer) is backing up, now, we need them to tell us in a letter what’s happening.”

Scott Hunsucker, superintendent of Brownstown Wastewater Utility

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.