News From Terre Haute, Indiana

News

August 5, 2013

Large-scale plant upgrades ahead of schedule

$120 million project largest in city history

TERRE HAUTE — Cruising down Indiana 63 on the south side of Terre Haute, you might notice a lot of activity to the east.

Industrial cranes stretch high into the air next to massive hills of piled earth. Heavy trucks, construction equipment and crews of workers wearing hard hats are scattered around.

The work is the long-awaited, multi-million-dollar upgrade to the city’s aging wastewater treatment plant.

With a price tag of about $120 million, “it’s the largest public works project in the history of the city,” said Mayor Duke Bennett. “No other project has cost this much.”

The first phase of the plant upgrade included installing a new “headworks” structure to remove trash, such as grit, sand and plastic bottles, from the wastewater entering the plant.

That phase, at a cost of more than $7 million, was completed a couple of years ago.

Last November, Plocher Construction Co. of Highland, Ill., submitted the winning bid for the rest of the plant upgrade. That bid was for $115 million.

Today, Plocher trucks are scattered around the site, as are local construction and contracting crews, trucks and machines. All the crews are local union workers, said Mark Thompson, director of the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

The massive project, which started about eight months ago, is expected to take two-and-a-half years to complete. Right now, the project is ahead of schedule, Thompson said.

A “couple of hundred” workers are taking part in the project, Thompson said. The plant ordinarily employs 67 people, he said.

More capacity,

less smell

The scale of the work under way is huge.

Currently under construction are giant tanks to hold and mix oxygen with sewage, other tanks to store “sludge,” which is organic matter in the wastewater system, and “clarifiers,” where solids are separated from liquid in the system.

The upgrades will also provide a new disinfecting process that uses ultraviolet light as opposed to chlorine. That’s a change that will eventually save money, but was made for health and safety reasons, Thompson said.

Work is also under way on a new administration building for the plant and on a new laboratory. The existing administration building dates back to the 1960s.

The massive upgrades are taking place while the plant continues to handle millions of gallons of wastewater each day. In effect, the city is building an entirely new wastewater treatment plant along side the existing one, said Chuck Ennis, city engineer and a member of the Terre Haute Sanitary Commission.

Once the new pieces are in place, the old portions of the plant also will be refurbished, allowing them to remain in operation, Thompson said. That will allow the plant to increase its capacity of 24 million gallons per day by about 40 percent, Bennett said.

Eliminating foul odors from the plant is a huge part of the upgrade.

The new headworks facility, a two-story brick building with two big air filters attached, will remove about half of the smell, Bennett said. Covering giant sludge storage tanks will eliminate virtually all of the rest, Thompson said.

In the end, about the only time a smell might escape the plant, Thompson said, is when sludge is transferred from covered tanks to tanker trucks, which will then drive the sludge from the facility. Otherwise, “there will be no smell,” he said.

The money side

The project is being paid for from the State Revolving Fund, which is administered by the Indiana Finance Authority and provides funding to cities and towns for wastewater or drinking water projects through low-interest bonds.

The 2012 Sanitary District Revenue Bond covering the Terre Haute project is for $139 million at an interest rate of 2.14 percent, according to Leslie Ellis, city controller. The money to pay back the bond will come completely from sewer bills of residential and business customers who use the city’s sanitary sewer system, Ennis said.

The Terre Haute City Council in November passed an ordinance putting in place the sewer rate increases that will be needed to cover the expense. Under that ordinance, rates increased in July and bills arriving in area homes this month will reflect the latest hike.

The minimum bill, starting this month, will be $17.50, up from $15.21. Next year, the rate hike in July will take the minimum bill to $20.13. In July of 2015, the minimum bill will reach $23.16.

The average bill is set to increase this month to $37.29 from $32.42. Next July, the average bill would reach $42.89 and in July of 2015 the average sewer bill would be $49.39.

Even with these increases, Terre Haute would have some of the lowest sewer rates in the state, Bennett said.

The city had to get these new rates in place to prove to state and federal environmental authorities that it would be able to carry out a long-term control plan, which is mandated by federal law to reduce raw sewage emissions into the Wabash River.

As part of meeting that mandate, the city will also be spending another $120 million on upgrades to its sewer system outside of the treatment plant over the next two decades. Those improvements will include a massive underground storage tank, a storage “lagoon” on former International Paper property and much more. Those costs, managed by the Terre Haute Sanitary District, are typically covered by property taxes, Ennis said.

Improving city’s prospects

Even without the legal mandates, the city’s wastewater treatment plant was due for an overhaul. The plant hasn’t had a major upgrade on this scale since it was constructed in the 1960s, Bennett said.

Improving aging sewer systems is “a national problem,” said Frank Suarez, director of public information for Fort Wayne, which is undergoing its own $240 million upgrades to its sanitary sewer system.

Fort Wayne is reducing its sewage/stormwater overflows into the three rivers running through the city by 90 percent, Suarez said. Part of that, as in Terre Haute, involves expanding Fort Wayne’s wastewater plant capacity from 60 million gallons per day to 85 million gallons per day.

Improving wastewater treatment is linked to economic development, Suarez noted. Businesses need clean water and sewer systems that work, he said.

“That’s critical to any industry anywhere in the country,” Suarez said.

Bennett agrees. Some Indiana cities have found themselves in legal battles with EPA, he said. By avoiding that, Terre Haute has shown it can work well with the federal and state government, he said.

Additionally, the city’s larger-capacity wastewater treatment plant means more industries can consider Terre Haute for new plant locations, the mayor said. That’s because the first question companies ask when considering a new location is whether the local wastewater system can handle their added usage, he said.

“They’re not even going to look at you if you can’t handle it,” Bennett said.

And finally, the new upgrades at the wastewater treatment plant hold the promise of eliminating the last of Terre Haute’s once-famous odors along the Wabash River near Interstate 70, Bennett noted.

“We’re getting rid of the smell,” he said. “That helps improve our image.”

Tribune-Star reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
News
  • MET 042414 NEWELL SHIRT.jpg Katelyn Newell: One year later: Heartfelt celebration

    Nine-year-old Katelyn Newell may just be one of those few kids who have two “birthdays,” and Thursday she celebrated one of them. In the company of her family and classmates, Katelyn had a small party at her third-grade classroom at Deming Elementary School in celebration of the one-year anniversary of her heart transplant. Her family and friends call April 24 her “new heart birthday.”

    April 24, 2014 5 Photos

  • MET 042414 DUKE BURGER.jpg Duke plans major move

    Duke Energy plans to move an oversized transformer from Terre Haute to Rockville on Monday, starting at 8:30 a.m., an action that will temporarily close sections of some roads in Vigo and Parke counties.

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Coats Daviess Coats to join GOP senators calling for Russian sanctions

    U.S. Sen. Dan Coats wants tougher sanctions against Russia for its growing involvement in Ukraine, despite signs of wariness back home.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • IMG_20140423.jpg ATV accidents send two to hospitals

    Two unrelated ATV accidents Wednesday in different parts of Vigo County sent two people to the hospital.

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Camm Steidl ISU Justice system questioned

    David Camm says that when he looks critically at the Indiana State Police today, he sees arrogance, ego and the desire for personal — even monetary — gain.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Death certificate delay angers Health Board

    The Vigo County coroner is not signing death certificates in a timely manner as required by law, according to the Vigo County Health Department.

    April 23, 2014

  • MET042314 glove.jpg MARK BENNETT: The memories from a baseball mitt fit like a glove

    Man hasn’t developed the technology for time travel.
    The smell of your old baseball glove can come pretty close, though.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Former Parke County teacher arrested on felony charges

    A former Montezuma Elementary teacher — who also had served as president of the Southwest Parke Education Association — was arrested Wednesday on felony counts related to alleged missing funds, according to Indiana State Police.

    April 23, 2014

  • Bucshon has commanding money lead

    Incumbent U.S. Rep. Larry D. Bucshon of Newburgh has a commanding lead in campaign funds over fellow Republican Andrew McNeil of Freedom for the May 6 primary election, according to election reports from the Federal Election Commission.

    April 23, 2014

  • MET042314 arborday dell.jpg City’s first Arbor Day awards named

    Terre Haute and its citizens were recognized on Wednesday night for contributions to the urban forest.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • kersey turner Turner skips House ethics hearing

    House Speaker Pro Tem Eric Turner skipped a House ethics review Wednesday but claimed in filings submitted to the panel that he did nothing wrong when he fought legislation that would have cost him millions of dollars in profits.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Activity Fair is Saturday at park

    Are you looking for fun, afterschool and summer activities for your kids? You can review options a the Greater Terre Haute Afterschool Network Camps and Activities Fair from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Vigo County YMCA at Fairbanks Park, according to a press release.

    April 23, 2014

  • Children’s charity to conduct fundraiser this weekend

    March for Babies — the March of Dimes premier fundraising event that benefits all babies — will step off Saturday morning at ISU’s Memorial Stadium on the east side of Terre Haute.

    April 23, 2014

  • Villa Grove High School students win state anti-drinking PSA contest

    The State of Illinois on Wednesday announced that students from the eastern Illinois’ Villa Grove High School won the Illinois Liquor Control Commission’s statewide video public service announcement contest. The announcement ceremony at the Douglas County school also served as the statewide kickoff for this spring’s Your Actions Matter! underage drinking awareness campaign.

    April 23, 2014

  • MET 042214 SWIM BULL.jpg Swim by 7 program

    Swim by 7 is a collaborative effort involving the United Way of the Wabash Valley and the Vigo County School Corp. As envisioned, all VCSC kindergarten students would participate in the learn-to-swim program once the new VCSC Aquatics Facility is constructed and ready for use at Voorhees Park.

    April 22, 2014 6 Photos 1 Video

  • Candidates file finance reports

    The Democratic race for judge of Vigo County Superior Court Division 2 boasts the most fundraising of all campaigns for the May 6 primary election.

    April 22, 2014

  • MET042214 earthdaymcclennan.jpg Mayor Duke Bennett leads community discussion on litter

    Talking trash in the neighborhood can get down and dirty.

    April 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • Public hears about grant to clean up E. coli in Otter Creek

    Greg Dunham has known Otter Creek since his childhood. “I walked that creek. I lived in that creek and I was all the time fishing in it, so this was news to me” he said about the concern of Escherichia coli (E. coli) in the Otter Creek watershed.

    April 22, 2014

  • MET042214 elanco.jpg Lilly to buy Novartis Animal Health

    Eli Lilly and Co. plans to acquire Novartis Animal Health for about $5.4 billion, a move believed to strengthen and diversify Lilly’s own animal health business, Elanco.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 042114 NEW ISU TRACK.jpg VIDEO: Indiana State breaks ground for $4.3M riverside track and field facility

    Indiana State University officials, community leaders and donors broke ground Monday on a new, $4.3 million track and field facility on the Wabash riverfront, along North First Street.

    April 21, 2014 3 Photos 1 Video

  • Panel approves new school benchmarks

    A panel of Indiana business and education leaders were met with boos and jeers from attendees after they voted overwhelmingly Monday to support new math and English standards set to replace the Common Core in classrooms this fall.

    April 21, 2014

  • schaffer, aaron.jpg Man to face several charges in Linton shooting death

    A homicide northeast of Linton is being investigated by the Greene County Sheriff’s Department.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • aquatic center exterior.jpg Board approves bond structure to fund central pool project

    The Vigo County School Corp.’s $9.8 million aquatics center is “on schedule” and “the budget looks good,” Superintendent Dan Tanoos told the School Board on Monday.

    April 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Judge: Indiana hasn’t given good reason for same-sex marriage ban

    A federal judge has said that attorneys defending Indiana’s gay marriage ban haven’t given a valid reason why the state should not recognize the out-of-state marriage of a lesbian couple, one of whom has a terminal illness.

    April 21, 2014

  • Police: Death from natural causes for 2 bodies found in home

    Death by natural causes has been ruled in the deaths of two people whose bodies were found Sunday evening inside their Pimento area home in southern Vigo County.

    April 21, 2014

  • MET 042114 NEW FIREFIGHTER.jpg 10 men, 1 woman added to Fire Dept. ranks

    Eleven recruits joined the ranks of the Terre Haute Fire Department on Monday during a swearing-in ceremony at Terre Haute City Hall.

    April 21, 2014 4 Photos

  • Mayor to host Earth Day event for children

    Mayor Duke Bennett has partnered with Indiana State University and the Vigo County Public Library to invite children grades K-5 for an evening of hands-on, environmental learning at the City’s first Earth Day Extravaganza. The free event will be today, Earth Day, from 4 ot 6 p.m. at the library.

    April 21, 2014

  • City to host Arbor Day award reception Wednesday

    Terre Haute’s urban forester and Mayor Duke Bennett will host Terre Haute’s first Arbor Day Urban Forest Award reception at 6 p.m. Wednesday at The Ohio Building.

    April 21, 2014

  • MET 042014 DOUBLE-DEATH.jpg 2 bodies found in Pimento home

    Police were at the scene of a death investigation on Sunday in southern Vigo County.
    “It’s a double death investigation,” Vigo County Chief Deputy Clark E. Cottom told the Tribune-Star at the scene.

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT041614 morrismorris.jpg BOSTON MARATHON: Not intimidated

    One reason Mike Morris — and many runners can relate — has been a distance runner for 30 years is it’s restorative powers. Not to the body but to the mind.

    April 20, 2014 4 Photos

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Kangaroo Rescued From Swimming Pool Raw: 3 American Doctors Killed in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888 Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Raw: Obama Arrives at State Dinner in Tokyo Raw: Car Crashes Into San Antonio Pool Time Magazine Announces Top Influencers List Raw: Angry Relatives Confront SKorea Officials Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Scott Brown Announces Run for U.S. Senate in N.H FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Raw: Czech Man Narrowly Escapes Speeding Train
NDN Video
Grumpy Cat Not Impressed at "Idol" Is Shaquille O'Neal the World's Best Ex-Athlete? Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 2 BASE Jumpers Set World Record Screaming 2-year-old gets psyched at Penguins game Pineda: Put pine tar because he didn't want to hit anyone Beyonce on Her Biggest Influence Michael Strahan's First Day on "GMA" Clerk catches on fire after man throws Molotov Cocktail into Brooklyn store Amazon's Deal With HBO Leapfrogs Streaming Rivals Stephen Colbert Tells David Letterman His Plan for 'Late Show' Georgetown police officer filmed tripping students Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Recycling Highlights for Earth Day Lupita Nyong'o Named People's 'Most Beautiful' Peeps Launched into Outer Space NYPD's Twitter Request For Photos Backfires New HBO Go Commercials Capture Awkward Family TV Watching Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity
Real Estate News