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Storm water project aims to stop sewage from entering Wabash River

A nearly $12 million project is building on Lafayette's efforts to stop sewage from entering the Wabash River.

Posted: Apr 6, 2021 2:10 PM
Updated: Apr 6, 2021 6:33 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A nearly $12 million project is building on Lafayette's efforts to stop sewage from entering the Wabash River.

In the past, when Lafayette's combined sewer and storm water systems became overwhelmed by rain and snow melt, the overflow was redirected to the Wabash River. But several projects are changing that.

As News 18 previously reported, the city has added several massive underground storage tanks to hold the excess storm water and sewage until it can be redirected to the water treatment plant.

The next tank will be installed near the Pearl River lift station on Walnut Street and will hold up to 1.5 million gallons of combined sewer overflow.

Lafayette Renew Superintendent Brad Talley says the tank is much smaller than the anticipated 5.3 million gallons thanks to the city's storm water management efforts so far.

The North Street pavers, the Brown Street pavers, the Ninth and South storm water station which separated 27 acres of downtown, and so we've been able to reduce the amount of storm water that enters in the system to get that reduction in the pipe size and the storage size," Talley says.

"All of the rain barrels that we've been able to get out into the community, the rain gardens, the bio swales," Talley added, "all of that takes the storm water and keeps it out of the system, out of the combined system, and helps us reduce the amount of combined sewers we have to treat."

The smaller tank means about $20 million in savings. The city will pay Bowen Engineering nearly $12 million to install it, as well as a 390-kilowatt solar array to provide 90% of the lift station's electricity needs.

As News 18 previously reported, Bowen was also hired to install tanks near Canal Road and Murdock Park. The latter tank had to be completely torn out and is in the process of being rebuilt due to critical structural issues. The rebuild being paid by Bowen at no cost to the city.

Talley says the new project won't increase user fees due to the savings from the smaller tank.

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