|6/24/2020 12:12:00 PM|
At long last, reservoir tapped
Officials celebrate better quality H20
Fresh, clean water should never again be a concern for those lucky people who are customers of the North Vernon Water Department.
|Officially announcing the commencement of the city’s new source for water Thursday afternoon were, l to r, Dan Massey of Ferguson Water Works; TIF Board President Greg Hicks; Clint Black, project manager for Dave O’Mara Contractor; USB President Terry Thompson; NV Mayor Mike Ochs; NV Clerk-Treasurer Shawn Gerkin; Utilities Superintendent Russel Vaught; NV City Councilor Jack Kelley; USB attorney Chris Doran; USB member Barbara Patterson; City Council President Brian Hatfield; and Water Superintendent Will Spencer—Staff Photo by Barbara King|
|As of June 4, customers of North Vernon Water Department have been using water supplied from the city’s reservoir at the former quarry.|
That is because after almost six years of overcoming seemingly one "pitfall" after another, water from the new North Vernon reservoir is now flowing trough the taps of utility service customers, providing a much cleaner product than the utility's former source, the Muscatatuck River.
"This is a monumental occasion," said USB President Terry Thompson to those gathered shoulder to shoulder at the reservoir Thursday afternoon. What began as the most economical solution to safeguard the city's water supply from any hazardous spill occurring on the bypass morphed into a six-year $5,044,751.74 project.
Back in March 2016, the former Hansen 80-acre quarry and entire 160-acre property was sold to the city for $2.5 million. The Indiana Department of Transportation paid $2 million of the cost while the NV Redevelopment Commission chipped in $500,000.
From that point, it was up to the city and its Utility Service Board to develop the quarry into its sustainable water source.
Plans were formulated to pump Muscatatuck River water up to the quarry to replenish and stabilize its water level, as well as plans to bring the quarry water over to the North Vernon Water Plant on Ninth Street.
Along the way, a major problem was discovered: the water was too hard, registering over 600 mg/liter. This level would create problems for residential and industrial customers alike. The utility's biggest customer, for example, was Rose Acre Farms which uses drip lines to provide water to its chickens. Water this hard would clog those lines and be a major issue for the factory farm.
Bringing the water hardness down to its present 200 mg/liter level was a major undertaking and took construction of a slurry wall and dewatering well adding $545,559 to the project, as well as engineering costs, change orders and miscellaneous testing.
In the end, everyone agreed it was all well worth it. The quarry holds a 190 day supply of water for the utility which uses approximately 700,000 gallons a day.
The water is of a much higher quality than river water, as river water is notorious for its sand, silt and organic matter, which the water department has to filter out and treat, said Will Spencer, water superintendent.
River water pumped up into the quarry will have plenty of time to "settle" and "filter" out these impurities before it is pumped back to the water plant.
Using quarry water means the plant will use a lot less chemicals, such as Chlorine, to clean up the water "which is a good thing," continued Spencer. The utility has "for years" had issues with Tryhalomethane and Haloacetic acids which are byproducts of the chlorine use. Now, that issue should be solved.
"Finally, it's starting to do the job because of these guys who did their jobs," said Mayor Mike Ochs, who then singled out some of those instrumental in the project's success; engineer, RLM Engineering/Richard Morin; the NV Redevel-opment Board or TIF; Clint Black, project manager for Dave O'Mara Contractor; Shawn Gerkin, city clerk-treasurer "who did an outstanding job" figuring out how to pay for everything; and members of the USB board.
Ironically, Ochs voted against and even campaigned against the quarry in his first run for the mayoral office, believing the city should solve any water issue by purchasing water from Jennings Water.
"I was against it," he said of the quarry. "Now I'm all for it. This is good for the town."
Shawn Gerkin paid homage to the late Harold "Soup" Campbell who had the vision to pursue purchase of the quarry and was joined by former City Councilors Connie Rayburn and Matt Hurley.
"We'd be remiss not to recognize these individuals," he said.
Article Comment Submission Form