LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Lafayette residents may pay 30 percent more in their sewage bills to help stop more than 100 million gallons of raw sewage from entering the Wabash River.
In an open meeting Monday night, Public Works Director Jenny Miller presented the latest construction projects required to comply with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
Miller told the Common Council the $33 million project will annually keep 115 million gallons of sewage from entering the Wabash.
A required project between 2006 and 2008 elsewhere in the city has prevented 878 million gallons from entering the river.
Miller said there are three key parts to the project, which, for the most part, centers around Earl Avenue.
Crews will install line existing sewer lines to separate stormwater sewer lines from sanitary sewer lines. They will build stormwater sewers and basins from the County Fairgrounds area up to Kossuth Street. They will then line the existing sanitary sewer line from the Fairgrounds area to the Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Miller said that's not the only benefit.
"It also addresses flooding in our Colombian Park neighborhood," Miller added. "A lot of those residents experience basement flooding. We'll be able to have storm sewers up Earl Avenue to take care of that basement flooding. We will also have an outlet of drainage for Sagamore Parkway (near Kossuth)."
She presented a 31-percent increase to the council Monday. Based on an average usage of 5,000 gallons, there would be a 15-percent increase beginning Feb. 1, 2013, taking a monthly bill from $25.01 to $28.75.
On Jan. 1, 2014, there would be a 10-percent increase to $31.63. Effective Jan. 1, 2015, the rate would increase 4 percent to $32.90.
Even so with the increase, Miller presented a chart showing that among the 36 Indiana cities with at least 25,000 residents, when you combine water and sewer rates, Lafayette residents will still pay the seventh lowest. West Lafayette residents pay the 10th highest.
Miller anticipates presenting the proposal formally at November's Common Council meeting.
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