Indy’s Water/Sewer Ownership Shift Proceeds Smoothly

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | March 2012, Vol. 67 No. 3

In addition to assuming day-to-day operation and billing of water and wastewater services, Citizens Water also assumed immediate and long-term maintenance duties along with responsibility for active and future construction to improve and enhance both systems.

“Water and wastewater infrastructures in Indianapolis are similar to those of many American cities with pipe in the systems well past their life expectancy,” said Stephen Nielsen, P.E., director, wet distribution engineering for Citizens. “The systems must be constantly monitored for failures; there always are on-going projects to rehabilitate existing pipe and install new pipe.”

With the transition, Citizens Water assumed responsibility for the Long Term Control Plan mandated under a Consent Decree with the U.S. EPA to minimize combined sewer overflows into the White River and other area streams. The plan calls for completion of a $3.5 billion Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) project by the year 2025. Remaining CSO construction costs are estimated at $1.7 billion.

Citizens Water also is continuing the city’s Septic Tank Elimination Program (STEP), which is bringing sewer service to areas of Marion County where failing septic tanks are jeopardizing public health and the environment. Citizens will complete the city’s current STEP schedule with more than 7,000 septic tank replacements through 2013.

“Projects under way when the transition was completed were not affected,” said Nielsen. “Contracts will remain in place just as they were. However, we believe now we are better able to coordinate projects.”

Tunnel
Included in the transition is the Deep Rock Tunnel Connector project, the largest combined sewer overflow project ever undertaken in Indianapolis.

“The first phase of the project, the seven-mile Deep Rock Tunnel Connector, was recently awarded to Shea-Kiewitt, a joint venture, for $179.3 million. J.F. Shea is a Los Angeles-based company known for constructing the Golden Gate Bridge. Kiewit is an experienced contractor based in Omaha, NE. Shea-Kiewit has considerable experience with deep tunnel projects, including a project in Atlanta, GA,” said John Morgan, Citizens Energy Group manager of special projects and manager of planning and design services.