Sewer planners want to hear from Birdseye, Ireland


The consulting firm working on the plan for creating a regional sewer district in Dubois County is having a hard time getting in touch with a couple of local sewer companies.

Mary Austin, Clark Dietz’s southern Indiana and Kentucky area manager, told the Dubois County Commissioners this week that she has not been able to reach representatives of Birdseye’s wastewater system or Ireland’s wastewater utility.

“Right now, we’re in the process of laying out all the boundaries of everybody’s existing sewer districts,” she said, “and if they want to change their limits or expand our limits before we develop your limits. We have met with everybody except for Birdseye and Ireland, as far as developing what each of those districts want their final limits to be.”

Austin said she has left several messages for those entities, but has not gotten a response. While they were involved in earlier meetings, there may now be misunderstanding the intent of the regional district, she suspects.

“I’m a little concerned that they’re not responding because they think that we want to take everything,” she said. “We don’t want to do that. That’s not the intention. I just need their limits and what they want their limits to be.”

The commissioners have been working on plans to create a regional sewer district in the county to help get services to unserved areas in the county.

“Our intention isn’t to interfere with what anybody else is doing,” Commissioner Chad Blessinger said. “We want to expand where it’s not observed.”

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.

“It really needs to be a partnership and a collaboration,” Austin said. “Our goal is to keep them involved in the communication process, so that they know what’s going on.”

Clark Dietz is currently conducting a study to look at the configuration of a regional district, the costs for installing one and funding options, including loans and grants. So while district boundary lines are being determined, the company is also working on the background and topography for the study, Austin said.

Austin also presented a $30,000 state grant application to help with the $82,500 cost of the study. The commissioners approved submitting the application.

Clark Dietz expects to submit the petition for the regional sewer district to the state sometime in April or May, Austin estimated. But before that happens, she wants to make sure each sewer entity already working in the county is on board and involved in the planning.

“We want to make sure we get all the stakeholders’ input,” she said, “so that we’re doing the best to help them out as well as to help the areas that aren’t being served.”

Commissioner Nick Hostetter, who is the commissioner heavily involved in the sewer district planning, said he will reach out to Birdseye and Ireland to explain this project.

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