Sewer district study progresses


Work continues on establishing a regional sewer district in Dubois County.

Consultants Clark Dietz Inc. is conducting the study for the county. That includes looking at the configuration of a regional district, considering the costs for establishing one and researching funding options, such as grants and loans.

“Right now, we’re doing a study that looks more at the need and feasibility of a regional sewer district,” said Mary Austin, Clark Dietz’s southern Indiana and Kentucky area manager. “We're (looking) at what areas currently have sewer service, what areas are on septic, how many of the areas that are on septic have failing septic systems.”

So far, a public meeting has been held and a survey has been conducted. That information will be included in the study’s findings.

“When the study is complete, we will develop the regional sewer district,” Austin said. “We are not at that point yet.”

The Dubois County Commissioners have been working on plans to create a regional sewer district in the county to help get services to unserved areas. The regional sewer district will not be a sewer treatment facility. It will likely be a collection system with the treatment being done at already existing sewer treatment plants. Inter-local agreements would be established between the regional district and the existing plants.

Austin has been in touch with all the current sewer providers in the county to make sure they are aware of the scope of the study and are willing to partner with the district.

“(The district) will not be absorbing any of the existing districts," Austin said. "They will still have their autonomy.”

Christine Ingaldson, Clark Dietz’s marketing communications manager, listed in a report the goals of a regional sewer district in Dubois County:

• Develop a 20-to-30-year plan to potentially serve the unserved or underserved throughout the county that is economically feasible.

• Build, own and maintain the collection system infrastructure to the areas currently nor served by an existing sewer district.

• Work with the existing sewer districts in the county to treat the sewer flow from the regional sewer district’s collection system.

• Provide a public utility alternative to those property owners that currently have failing septic systems.

The district will not require any existing developed property to hook on to the system as long as they have a permitted, compliant, functioning septic system, Ingaldson wrote. Also, the district will not initiate any septic system inspections, nor will it require any existing sewer district to become part of the RSD, she said.

Once the study is complete, another public meeting will be held to provide a summary of the study’s findings and to discuss the county’s next steps. Austin expects that meeting to happen at the end of summer or beginning of fall, she said.

Commissioner Nick Hostetter and County Health Department Administrative Director Shawn Werner are actively involved with the sewer district project. Comments and inquiries about the project’s progress can be directed to them.

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