ANDERSON, Ind. — Fresh, clean water is a precious commodity, and it’s likely to become more expensive in Anderson next year because of a major facility upgrade city officials are proposing.
Extensive engineering studies show that the Lafayette Water Treatment plant on Hartman Road has reached the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced, said Water Department Superintendent Tom Brewer.
Built in the mid-1960s, the Lafayette Treatment Plant requires constant and increasingly expensive repairs to keep it operational, he said. “As with a lot of our infrastructure, it has served us very well, but the reality is that it has reached the end of its useful life.”
In addition, some wells no longer operate, the plant’s treatment capacity is restricted because deteriorating equipment, and sections of the distribution system suffer from chronic leaks, and undersized and dilapidated water mains, Brewer said.
Improvements the water department are proposing include:
- Replacing the Lafayette Water Treatment Plant.
- Replacing four wells adjacent to the facility.
- Making repairs at the Wheeler Water Treatment Plant, which suffered a major leak in January.
- Replacing water mains in the Homewood neighborhood.
- Covering the costs of various engineering studies.
The combined total cost of these projects would be $14.3 million, according to Brewer and Deputy Mayor Pete Heuer.
To pay for these improvements, the department will request a rate increase, which will have to be approved by the Anderson City Council and Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. The last increase was approved in 2006, and went into effect in early 2007, Heuer said.
Under the proposed rate plan, minimum users (up to 3,000 gallons of water per month), would see an increase of $6.26 in their monthly water charge.
Average users, (which is approximately 5,000 gallons of water per month), will see an increase of about $9.14 per month.
The current monthly bill for the average customer is $18.98 per month, and would rise to $27.88 under the new rate plan. The increases would affect all water users.