Utilities official says best U.S. 30 drainage solution also cheapest
BY JAMES D. WOLF JR. Post-Tribune correspondent February 14, 2014 5:42PM
Updated: February 14, 2014 8:46PM
VALPARAISO — The best way to improve drainage and upgrade a pump station along U.S. 30 is also the cheapest way, according to City Utilities Director Steve Poulos.
That’s what Poulos told the Utilities Board this past week.
By not building a new lift station but investing in new equipment, the City Utilities would take on a $700,000 project instead of one that costs $2.3 million or $3.5 million, according to estimates Poulos provided the board.
The lesser plan would increase capacity at the Horse Prairie Avenue lift station from 5 million gallons a day pumped to 6.8 millions gallons a day.
At Tuesday’s Utilities Board meeting, Poulos said that would be sufficient for planned growth along U.S. 30 and south for 10 to 15 years, including the planned Pratt Industries paper plant to be completed in 2015.
The cost of $2.5 million or $3.5 million to increase it to 7.5 million gallons a day is not only not worth the cost but unnecessary.
“You never want to over-develop a lift station,” Poulos said. “You’re expending funds you don’t have to expend.”
Poulos hopes to make improvements without borrowing money.
His department received a $200,000 grant from the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority in May and has $291,000 left from a state revolving fund proceed that is left over from a disinfecting process project.
If the utility department doesn’t spend that, it could end up paying a penalty, he said.
The rest should come from a summer bond or available money.
Poulos recommended improving the Horse Prairie Avenue lift station instead of the Sturdy Road station. The Horse Prairie station was last upgraded in 2003 but uses three 50 horsepower pumps; two date from 1983 and the other was installed in 2000.
Because the pumps have no variable frequencies, solids settle to the bottom, creating an odor.