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County’s northern sewer customers to benefit from grant

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Bartholomew County has been awarded a $500,000 grant to make improvements to a problematic sewer system that serves residents in the northern part of the county.

The county’s grant was one of 38 Community Focus Fund grants announced Friday by Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman.

The money will fund improvements to the Driftwood Utilities system, according to a news release from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.

Bartholomew County Commissioner Carl Lienhoop said the Driftwood sewer system is old. When the water table is high, the commissioner said ground water leaks into the sewer system connections. That makes the flow greater than what the customers actually generate, and customers are charged more than they actually should be, he said.

“It’s been an ongoing problem for quite a while,” Lienhoop said.

Driftwood handles service and billing for customers from Lowell Addition to Taylorsville. Driftwood contracts with Columbus to provide sewer service. The city has about 1,500 Driftwood customers for sewer service.

The project will:

Rehabilitate manholes and sewer mains.

Disconnect storm sewer inlets.

Address large amounts of inflow and infiltration with the utility’s system.

The CFF grants are federally funded by the Community Development Block Grant program and administered by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.

Water and sewer system improvements, storm drainage projects, libraries, community and senior centers and special-needs facilities are among the types of projects eligible for the CFF grants.

“The CFF grants aid our smaller cities and towns with the community improvements needs,” Skillman said in the release. “Upgrades in infrastructure, safety or utilities make our smaller communities more competitive in attracting residents as well as new business.”

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