Study to look at city’s aging stormwater systemAugust 29, 2018
By CANDY NEAL
HUNTINGBURG — City officials want to locate problem areas in the city’s stormwater system.
A public meeting to gather that information has been set for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18, in the council chambers at City Hall, 508 E. Fourth St. Information will also be shared with attendees about the importance of the city repairing and maintaining its stormwater system.
Eric Parsley of Commonwealth Engineers told the Huntingburg Common Council Tuesday that the company has started working on collecting information. “We have gotten information from the city’s mapping system, verifying where the stormwater facilities are,” he said.
The company is also creating a map showing the problem areas, he said. “We have some identified,” he said. “We want to continue collecting (the location of) other problem areas.”
Commonwealth is studying the condition of the system to determine if stormwater work needs to be more extensive, and if a separate stormwater utility is needed for that work. The study will consider the financial factors, to see what the cost would be to residents if a utility is established.
Currently, the city street department incorporates stormwater maintenance into its street work. But officials have noticed more and more stormwater needs, such as repairing and replacing old infrastructure. Last year’s extensive spring rains overwhelmed the system in some areas of the city. As more street projects are done in the future, the issue of repairing or replacing old infrastructure will continue to increase.
City officials are trying to determine if these matters should be handled by a separate utility, instead of adding the additional work to the street department.
Upgrading the maintenance of stormwater services started being seriously considered in 2010, when the state began requiring that municipalities with a population of 10,000 people or more provide stormwater services.
Huntingburg, with a population in the 7,000s, is not in that category yet. But that could happen in the future as the population grows, especially since there has been talk at the state level of decreasing that population threshold.
Mayor Denny Spinner has said that city officials have not yet determined if a stormwater utility will be created or if the city will be implementing a stormwater fee.
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