Release Date: October 17, 2023
CHARLESTOWN, Ind. – A new Water Reclamation Facility is on the horizon for the City of Charlestown.
The groundbreaking for the project took place on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023 at 2 p.m. just south of the existing plant at 229 Charlestown Landing Road. The construction contract was awarded to Pace Contracting, who bid $39,878,000. Treatment plant design was performed by Jacobi, Toombs, and Lanz Engineering.
Grants and special funding cover more than half the cost ($28,975,000), including:
- $12,575,000, River Ridge Development Authority
- $9,900,000, READI Grant Funds from Our Southern Indiana Regional Development Authority
- $5,000,000, Indiana Finance Authority grant/financial support
- $1,500,000, American Rescue Plan Act
The Common Council appropriated $3.8 million from the city’s capital trust fund, which held money from the water utility sale. The remainder of the balance was covered by a low interest bond from the State Revolving Fund Program through Indiana Finance Authority.
“From the beginning, I have aggressively pursued special funding and grants to pay for the new plant,” said Mayor Treva Hodges. “A rate analysis by the city’s financial advisors showed a potentially disastrous rate impact if we had financed the full construction cost. Knowing that for every $5 million in funding I could secure it would save ratepayers $15 a month in future increases, I’m overjoyed by the successful attainment of grants that allowed us to avoid new rate increases for our residents.”
A new, expanded plant allows for growth opportunities and significant required repairs to the utility’s infrastructure.
“We will be ready to grow as a city,” said Hodges. “This is critical for not only River Ridge and Shadow Lake, but also residential, retail, and commercial construction.”
Currently, the plant can handle 2.2 million gallons per day (MGD). The new plant will handle 4 MGD with the availability to expand to 6 MGD and as high as 8 MGD with minimal modifications within the facility. The modular layout of the plant will allow expansion, if needed in a timely manner.
“The old plant will be in operation until the build is complete, then we will execute the tie-ins from the old to the new without interruption,” said City of Charlestown Utilities Director Tim Crawford. “There will be no lapse in service and/or treatment during the process.”
Most of the old plant will be demolished. Some areas will be transformed, like the current lab office becoming a blower facility.
Since 2022, the Wastewater team has expanded to five full-time experienced employees. The department was facing various Indiana Dept. of Environmental Management violations in the past, but all have been remedied in the previous three years.
“Our qualified staff have allowed us to set forth a maintenance program which is in progress now,” said Crawford. “Our team brings a lot of industry knowledge with them, so we will continue to move forward. Plus, the old plant is about 30 years old. It has lived beyond its useful life. There is obvious rust, concrete crumbling, and broken equipment.”
Processes will be more advanced in the new facility as new technology has entered the wastewater utility. It will be easier to maintain as well. Office and lab space will increase along with adding storage and a maintenance facility.
“We’re excited about the ability to control and track our processes a lot better,” said Crawford. “Our staff is looking forward to a new facility. They take great pride right now in the strides we’ve made. This will be like moving into a new house.”
The goal is to have the plant running the fourth quarter of 2025.