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LAPEL — The town of Lapel is moving ahead with a $4 million upgrade of its water system.

The Lapel Town Council reported Thursday it is seeking a $700,000 grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) with the intent to provide matching funds of $3.3 million through existing reserve funds and a loan from the Indiana Revolving Loan Fund.

Officials expect to learn on Dec. 15 if the OCRA grant has been approved.

Chad Blake, president of the town council, said that if the grant from the state is not approved, the intent is to move forward with the project by borrowing the entire project cost from the Indiana Revolving Loan Fund.

Blake explained the town intends to refinance two existing bonds with an annual payment of $260,000.

The new annual payment is estimated at $280,000 at a lower interest rate.

Robert Bellucci, project manager for Commonwealth Engineers, said work on the project is expected to start next summer.

“This is a significant undertaking,” Bellucci said. “There are four key areas to the project.”

The project is being planned to meet future needs of the community for 20 years.

He explained the work includes cleaning the two existing wells, replacing the pump at the Fourth Street well and other equipment upgrades.

“There will also be a study to identify future sites for other wells,” Bellucci said.

The plan includes upgrades at the water treatment plant for the current filtration system and controls.

Bellucci said a new mixing system to improve water quality will be undertaken for the 200,000-gallon elevated storage tank and the 200,000-gallon ground storage facility.

He said four priority areas have been identified to improve the distribution system which includes old and undersized pipes.

“We will replace all of the old pipes with 8-inch pipes,” Bellucci said. “That will improve water quality and water pressure.”

Neil Brook with the Kleinpeter Consulting Group said OCRA officials will make a site visit next week.

He said it will take approximately six months to finalize the design.

The town council will advertise for bids next June and open the bids in July.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter

@KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.

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