Town plans station repair

CROTHERSVILLE

After especially heavy rain, a lift station along Seymour Road in Crothersville becomes clogged with debris.

A recent inspection by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management found some issues and determined work needs to begin soon to replace it.

Brad Bender, operations manager with FPBH Inc. of North Vernon, received unanimous approval from the Crothersville Town Council to apply for a construction permit with IDEM.

An engineer’s estimate for the project came in at $132,900, which was higher than expected, and the town is looking at ways to fund it if the permit is approved.

Council President Ardell Mitchell said he bumped the total up to $140,000 to help cover soft costs related to the project.

During the council’s recent meeting, Trena Carter with Administrative Resources association of Columbus shared disappointing news about the town not receiving a disaster recovery grant through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. That was sought to help with drainage and flooding issues and improve the stormwater collection system.

Clerk-Treasurer Terry Richey said if the town doesn’t receive funding for the lift station, money could come out of the town’s water and sewer accounts.

When the IDEM inspector viewed the lift station, he told town officials that it needed to be fixed.

“It showed up on an inspection report, but it wasn’t like we have an IDEM directive and a timetable that we have to live up to,” Mitchell said. “They haven’t sent a violation letter. They are going to want to see progress to avoid that, and we don’t want a violation letter.”

Mason Boicourt, a town employee who works with the sewer, water and street departments, said he has encountered issues with the lift station.

“I had a lot of problems out of that thing earlier this spring with a lot of rain,” he said. “But we’ve had a lot of rain here recently, too, and not had any problems.”

When there are problems, it’s mainly because of debris in the pumps, he said. Rags and disposable wipes are among the items he has found.

“I have to have somebody come in and pull the pumps because, really, we don’t have any way of getting those pumps out of there,” Boicourt said. “It’s kind of a maintenance issue, too, because you’ve got to pull that out almost every time it rains because you’re going to have debris in there.”

The debris has worn down the pumps; and the wet well, which is old and made of metal, is rusting, Boicourt said.

After the inspection, FPBH was hired to help the town come up with a potential fix.

The lift station would be relocated, so a homeowner’s approval had to be obtained since it would be on that property. Bender said he was told the homeowner gave the OK because the owner wanted to see the work done.

The permit process is normally 30 to 60 days. If IDEM approves the project, the permit is good for up to two years, Bender said.

“The permit does not commit (the town) to doing the work and seeing it all the way through,” Mitchell said. “It just blesses the design as shown from our standpoint and asking for (IDEM) to weigh in.”

Since the town didn’t receive the disaster recovery grant, Carter said, there are a couple of opportunities to apply for funding in the new year. The town can apply for sanitary sewer project funding in February and a storm drainage improvement program in March.

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