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Emergency sewer work almost complete on Merrillville Road

Updated: March 3, 2014 5:33PM



CROWN POINT — Emergency replacement of a 100-plus-year-old sewer on a short section of Merrillville Road is wrapping up.

A state of emergency was declared by city officials this week to enable payment for the work that began after the Jan. 18 rupture caused a sewage backup in a handful of nearby homes.

“Public works resolved the problem right away,” Tris Miles, city engineer, said. City workers were able to quickly fix the leak and remedy the situation for homeowners; however, the section of sewer is so old full replacement was needed and that is taking longer.

Grimmer Construction has been working on the section of sewer needing to be replaced. The work has forced the closing of about a 200-foot stretch of Merrillville Road between East Goldsborough and Monitor streets on the east side of the Speedway gas station on Main Street. Extremely cold weather has slowed the replacement work, he said.

Miles said the work could be considered part of the High Priority Infiltration/Inflow Reduction Project; that work is being done under an Indiana Department of Environmental Management consent decree issued in 2007 requiring the city to separate storm water from its sanitary sewer system.

The need for the sewer replacement had already been identified during smoke testing of the entire system in 2012. The failure moves the project up the list.

Since the mandate that called for about $36 million on improvements including a new treatment plant was issued, the city has done a number of projects that have reduced the inflow and infiltration of storm water into the sanitary sewer system.

IDEM has taken those results into consideration and has helped to reduce the expected overall cost to around $20 million.

Completing projects such as the sewer replacement could have even more impact on the mandate’s cost moving forward.

Miles said the declaration of emergency status gives the city the ability to pay Grimmer for its work. He has not yet seen bills from the company and was not prepared to discuss what the project might cost.

Money to pay for the work would be made available through the state’s revolving loan fund and repayment would be incorporated into the inflow and infiltration project repayment schedule. So far the city has been able to pay for the work that has been completed with capital fees collected by the sewer utility.



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