Mounds Lake Reservoir

Fallen maple leaves gently float down steam as the rocky bed shows through the clear waters of White River in the Daleville area Monday afternoon. This stretch of the river would be affected by the proposed Mounds Lake Reservoir.

ANDERSON – Local residents are being given the opportunity to discuss the benefits and challenges that face the development of the proposed Mounds Lake reservoir.

A display of maps and data goes on exhibit at Mounds Mall starting today and running through Friday.

Rob Sparks, director of the Corporation for Economic Development (CED), said Monday that a Phase II feasibility study of the project has not been completed.

“Pieces are coming out,” he said. “There won’t be a release of a final document. We’re providing the nuts and bolts of the study.”

The proposed reservoir would create a 2,300-acre lake that will extend along White River from Anderson to Yorktown in Delaware County. The depth of the lake would be 50 feet at the dam site and 9 feet deep in the Daleville area. Mounds Lake would stretch approximately from East Lynn Street in Anderson and end north of Delaware County Road 300 South.

Plans for the proposed reservoir were announced in 2013. The CED received $600,000 in state funds to pay for the Phase II study.

An environmental portion of the feasibility study conducted by the SESCO Group Inc. identified environmental concerns for 120 acres of the proposed reservoir. One possible problem was at a former General Motors site near Scatterfield Road in Anderson.

SESCO said a remediation project is scheduled for the site this year or in 2015. It noted that additional study was required for other sites. The company stated the estimated cost to resolve environmental concerns is $35 million.

It found no contamination of the White River in the sampling area

“We want to engage the public,” Sparks said of the “Imagine Mounds Lake" sessions. “We want lots of public input on the benefits and challenges.”

He said the purpose behind the $450 million project is to create a water resource for central Indiana and create economic development opportunities in Anderson, Chesterfield, Daleville and Yorktown.

Sparks said it would take two to three years to obtain the necessary permits and two to four years to construct the dam. The project could be completed by 2021.

The proposal includes an extension of the trail network around Anderson with public access points along the reservoir for recreational purposes. The trail system would extend north along Killbuck Creek to the proposed Mallard Lake landfill site. Sparks said Mounds State Park would be expanded by 25 acres to the west.

Sparks said the CED will be winding down its involvement in the project.

“It needs to be led by local units of government,” he said of the Phase III study. “That will be started after the proposed Mounds Lake Commission is formed. I’m unsure of the funding.”

Of the estimated $450 million costs, Sparks said the proposed water utility would generate $30 million per year in revenues by selling water to surrounding communities.

He said there are projected regional water needs and the reservoir would provide 60 million gallons of water daily.

Sparks said as proposed the reservoir would displace 80 businesses, 80 homes and 270 modular homes.

He said the reservoir will encourage development of new housing and neighborhoods along the shoreline.

There are currently nine bridges in the reservoir area, and the cost to build new spans or alternative traffic routes would be approximately the same, Sparks said.

He said the bridges on Interstate 69 at Daleville and on Scatterfield Road  would have to be replaced.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.

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