NORTH WEBSTER — With the Lakeland Regional Sewer District’s wastewater treatment facility up and running since late July, Tippecanoe Lake has already expressed interest in connecting another pipeline, possibly doubling the system’s capacity.
Kenneth Jones Sr., president of Jones, Petrie and Rafinski, the company overseeing ongoing LRSD connections, addressed the LRSD board of directors monthly meeting Thursday, Oct. 5, at the North Webster Community Center, as a representative of the as-yet-unformed Tippecanoe Lake sewer system about the possibility of connecting to the LRSD waste treatment plant.
A movement to get sewers around the entire circumference of Tippecanoe Lake began in 2009, according to Jones, and the effort has since restarted. “They’ve done a fantastic job organizing,” he stated, and expect to proceed to the district formation level by 2018.
Structurally, Jones indicated LRSD’s sole involvement would be a metered pipeline, possibly routed through the Chapman Lake community, and connected to the sewer plant, which, DLZ engineer Casey Erwin pointed out, has room for expansion. It is rated for 350,000 gallons per day and is currently handling 60,000.
The new group would pay a bulk metered rate — “one bill, one check” — hopefully minimizing LRSD’s responsibilities.
While the Tippecanoe Lake effort would require the help of LRSD operations staff, engineering firm and financial advisors, all costs, said Jones, would be borne by Tippecanoe Lake. Exactly how that would happen, however, is unclear, because a district or conservancy does not exist, a fact pointed out by Jim Haney, LRSD board president, so any costs reimbursed to the district must be a part of Tippecanoe’s plans.
The benefit for LRSD would be financial. “This would likely result in cost savings to your customers,” said Jones, as the costs would be spread over a greater number.
Treasurer Mike DeWald, however, expressed his concern LRSD would be “tying our own hands for expansion.”
Interlocal agreements between sewer districts are common, and Jones cited Warsaw’s long-standing cooperation with Winona Lake, as well as Fort Wayne’s relationship with “several municipalities,” though DeWald replied the latter has resulted in rate disputes.
Although Haney stressed the fact no deal could be made until a Tippecanoe Lake sewer district is formed in 2018, Jones left the meeting seemingly satisfied with attorney Andy Boxberger’s assertion LRSD was “interested in being interested.”
Other items on the LRSD board meeting agenda were as follows:
The board agreed to send mailings to the 496 properties not yet connected, giving them 90 days from the mailing date. It is also in the process of creating a penalty ordinance, likely similar to the state code, which charges $100 per day for failure to connect.
A JPR representative reported nearly 70 percent of properties are connected and 88 percent have pulled permits. Though future connections will depend on the weather, he was optimistic the district would reach the 92 percent mark, which he called a “realistic total” in line with other projects the company has overseen.
The board passed a motion approving DLZ’s submission of the LRSD project for consideration by the American Council of Engineering Companies for its excellence award.
The LRSD office will officially relocate from the North Webster Community Center to the wastewater treatment plant Oct. 31. The change will be reflected on the website, lakelandrsd.com. LRSD meetings will also move to the plant at 5002 E. 100N, south of the Barbee Lake chain.