New Chicago pours money into water project
By Carole Carlson email@example.com/648-3154 February 20, 2013 5:38PM
Updated: March 22, 2013 10:39AM
NEW CHICAGO — The tiny town is launching one of its biggest projects — a $6 million water improvement project.
Town officials are kicking off the water line replacement construction with a 10 a.m. groundbreaking Saturday at the town water tower on Cleveland Avenue.
It can’t come soon enough for the town which has witnessed 17 water main breaks in its aging system in the past six weeks.
The town’s water lines were installed in 1953; some are just two-inch lines which produce low water pressure.
Unlike neighboring Hobart, New Chicago Water Works owns its water service. It purchases the water wholesale from Indiana-American Water Co. and sells it to about 2,200 customers in New Chicago, Lake Station, Hobart, Gary, and unincorporated Hobart Township.
The Town Council approved the work last year.
“We’re real thrilled,” said Deputy Clerk Rebecca “Sis” Williams. “We’ve been in the process of doing this since 2008.”
Williams said the town tried to get a federal grant, but was denied. Finally, she said it received a $6 million low interest state loan.
Customers received a 31 percent rate increase in June to offset the loan cost. Williams said customers pay about $15.80 for 2,000 gallons of water.
The project, expected to be completed in 2015, will require street closures, Williams said. She said residents will be notified in advance.
Gatlin Plumbing and Heating, of Griffith, received the contract for the project as its low bidder.