Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Town Utility seeks to extend sewer service to Fox Chase Farms

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By KEVIN NEVERS

The first beneficiaries of the Ind. 49 utility corridor may not be businesses or industries at all.

They may be the residents of Fox Chase Farms and the Whispering Sands Mobile Home Community in Liberty Township.

At a special meeting Tuesday evening, the Chesterton Utility Service Board agreed to pursue a sanitary sewer extension to both Fox Chase Farms, whose septic mound system is currently failing, and to Whispering Sands, whose package wastewater treatment plant is also failing.

Specifically, the Service Board voted 3-0 to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Fox Chase Farms property owners association, Whispering Sands, and John Marshall of 1st American Management Company, the court-appointed receiver for Fox Chase Farms’ mound system, originally operated by Centurian Utilities.

Members John Schnadenberg and Scot McCord were not in attendance.

Under the terms of the MOU, Fox Chase Farms would abandon its existing septic mound system and a replacement system would be built by the Utility, to which each of the 88 homes in the subdivision would connect through two-inch laterals and private grinder pumps. Wastewater would be routed through a new “transport system”--consisting of a submersible lift station and eight-inch force main--north along Meridian Road, then east along C.R. 900N, under the CSX right-of-way, and to the new lift station which is the centerpiece of the Ind. 49 utility corridor.

Whispering Sands would decommission the package plant and, via a new lift station and two-inch force main, flow wastewater to the eight-inch force main on Meridian Road.

“Based on preliminary sizing calculations, it is anticipated that an eight-inch force main will be required to handle the flows from (Fox Chase Farms, Whispering Sands), potentially the Liberty schools, and still have provisions for additional future users without capacity upsizing of the force main.”

The total cost of the project is estimated by the MOU at $2.1 million, with the transport system costing $1.564 million and the Fox Chase Farms replacement system $600,000.

The MOU also stipulates that the Utility will seek to finance the project with a zero-interest loan through the State Revolving Fund (SRF) amortized over 20 years

“There will be no capital cost to the town,” President Larry Brandt noted, because all costs will be paid by Fox Chase Farms and Whispering Sands and any subsequent users who may connect.

The estimated monthly cost to a Fox Chase Farms homeowner for sanitary sewer service provided by the Utility is $137.77.

At the moment a Fox Chase Farms homeowner is paying $65 per month but receiver John Marshall has petitioned the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission for an emergency increase of that amount to $95.

By 3-0 votes the Service Board also agreed to secure the services of its contracted financial consultant London Witte Group (at a cost not to exceed $50,000) and its contracted bond counsel Shanahan & Shanahan (at a cost not to exceed $16,000) to shepherd the Utility through the SRF process.

Associate Town Attorney Chuck Parkinson said that an SRF loan would require a great deal of preliminary work on the part of London Witte Group, including possibly--if required--the securing of a certificate of territoriality from the IURC.

 

Posted 4/30/2014