News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 3, 2013

Board votes on plan to curb flooding near Ouabache

Arthur Foulkes
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Work to eliminate a long-standing flooding problem near the Ouabache Elementary School on Maple Avenue is continuing through the Terre Haute Sanitary District.

The Terre Haute Board of Sanitary Commissioners on Tuesday voted to extend road, curb and sewer improvements south of the school along North Sixth Street, eventually reaching to Eighth Avenue. At present, the improvements extend only about halfway between the school on Maple Avenue and Eighth Avenue.

An important part of the project involves redirecting stormwater out of the city’s sewer system and into a pipe leading to the pond in the city-owned 500 Maple Avenue park, said Chuck Ennis, a member of the board and the city engineer.

“That should eliminate the flooding problem” near the school, Ennis said, adding it will also help Union Hospital with future stormwater drainage.

Ouabache, which is at 501 Maple Ave., is in a low-lying area with a history of flooding.

The sanitary board approved a contract with Dennis Trucking Co. Inc., a Terre Haute contractor, for $480,000 to pay for this second phase of the project. Dennis Trucking submitted the lowest bid for the work, a city official told the board.

n Also Tuesday, the board took no action on a proposed new easement for private property near the Hulman Dam, part of Hulman Lake. The proposed change in the city’s easement has been put forward by a property owner, Joseph A. Cloutier, who had sought an injunction to stop the dam improvement project from going forward, alleging encroachments on his property.

On Monday, Kelvin Roots, an attorney for Cloutier, submitted the amended easement in Vigo County Court and lifted a request for an injunction, effectively allowing the project to move forward.

The adjusted easement proposal was presented to the sanitary board by Terry Modesitt, board attorney, but the board took no immediate action.

The pending request for an injunction delayed the dam improvement project for several weeks, Ennis told the board. It can now move forward and should begin soon, he said, adding that Duke Energy is expected to commence utility relocation for the project.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has ordered the dam to be raised about five feet to meet new, mandated flood control standards. The project is expected to cost about $800,000, most of which will be covered by a federal grant.

The five-person sanitary board is appointed by the mayor to oversee the city’s sanitary sewer system.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or