Utilities to save on sewer improvements

Columbus City Utilities will save $2 million on one of its major wastewater projects.

The department announced last week that the Indiana Finance Authority has provided these savings for the city’s southeast sewer improvement project through the State Revolving Loan Program and an infrastructure grant.

“The $2 million in savings will come from a $470,000 State Water Infrastructure Fund (SWIF) grant and a 0% (interest) $4.33 million SRF loan,” city officials said.

According to Columbus City Utilities Director Roger Kelso, the loan will be paid back through user rates. Between the grant and the loan, the total project cost comes to about $4.7 million, which includes $3.7 million in construction costs. The expected project start date is Aug. 1.

Local officials called the southeast sewer improvements a high priority project for the Columbus City Utilities. According to the department’s website, the project includes several lift station and force main upgrades in the former Eastern Bartholomew Regional Sewer District.

“The former EBRSD service area experiences significant capacity issues during wet weather,” the project description states. “The properties in the Hamor Heights subdivision are served by septic tank effluent tank pumping systems, which are unable to pump against other lift stations in the area during wet weather. This results in several calls from homeowners any time it rains.”

The department noted in its 2021 annual report that the project will serve more than 70 customers, including CERAland Park and Rockcreek Elementary School.

“Many thanks to the Indiana Finance Authority for providing this generous grant and financing for this project,” said Kelso. “By combining the grant with the 0% loan, we can continue to maximize our funding for all sewer improvements needed in our area and better serve our customers.”