Press release from the City:
Â Mayor Henry Pushes Forward: Leads the City toward Cleaner, Healthier Rivers, Endorses Five Year Phase-In Rate Increase Plans will Improve Quality of Life
Saying, it’s time to step up and do the right thing Mayor Tom Henry forged ahead with plans to clean up our rivers.
“Yes it’s an unfunded “federal mandate” but we cannot ignore it… and we should not ignore it. Dumping sewage into our rivers is a disgusting practice that we have to correct,” said Mayor Henry.
Mayor Henry was joined by a community-wide team of citizens concerned about river pollution and its impact on health, the environment, the economy, business, and industry.
Joining Mayor Henry were, City Council Member Liz Brown, Allen County Health Director Deborah McMahon, IPFW Professor of Environmental Studies Bob Gilisspi, Realtor Jeff Thomas, Sewer Advisory Group member Rod Vargo, Civil Engineer Mark Jesse, City Utilities Director Kumar Menon, and City Utilities Engineer Matthew Wirtz.
“This is a full community project and the largest Public Works project in the history of Fort Wayne. These projects are important and will make a difference,” said Kumar Menon, Director of City Utilities.
Over the next 17 years more than $240 million will be spent on major projects to improve our sewers.
Here are some of the larger projects:
- $61 million for neighborhood sewer separation projects to reduce the likelihood of sewage backing up into homes
- $53 million for improvements at the Sewage Treatment Plant to increase capacity and improve efficiency and reliability
- $48 million to increase the Plant’s ability to store some sewage when it is raining and treat it when the rain stops
- $29 million for sewer line rehabilitation
- $48 million for interceptor sewer capacity improvements primarily in northeast Fort Wayne to help stop sewage releases and allow the community to grow
- Better Health – keeping E-Coli out of our rivers
- Cleaner Environment – protecting wildlife and our rivers
- Business Growth- stronger sewer infrastructure is needed
- Economic Growth – projects will create local jobs
To pay for these projects City Utilities is asking for a phase-in 5 year rate plan to be approved.
Seven years ago, negotiations with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management began in earnest. After lengthy negotiations, a settlement was reached in April of 2008 and the city was under a federal mandate in the form of a Consent Decree to make major improvements to its sewer system and drastically reduce combined sewer overflows. The Consent Decree looked at balancing costs with the impact investments could have on the environment.