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Wastewater Treatment Plant Expansion & Sewer System Improvements

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AUG. 24, 2017 WWTP PROJECT UPDATE>>

JULY 13, 2017 WWTP PROJECT UPDATE>>

WWTP PROJECT BID TABULATION>>

SEWER PROJECT BID TABULATION>>

ORDINANCE 2016-35 SEWER RATE INCREASE>>

ORDINANCE 2016-36 PROJECT ORDINANCE>>

NOV. 10, 2016 TOWN COUNCIL SPECIAL MEETING SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION>>

SEWER RATE IMPACT SUMMARY (AS OF 11/9/2016)>>

NOV. 2, 2016 TOWN COUNCIL SPECIAL MEETING PRESENTATION>>

SEWER RATE IMPACT SUMMARY (AS OF 11/2/16)>>

UMBAUGH PRESENTATION TO TOWN COUNCIL SPECIAL MEETING OCT. 4, 2016>>

ARCADIS PRESENTATION TO TOWN COUNCIL SPECIAL MEETING OCT. 4, 2016>>

PRELIMINARY ENGINEERING REPORT>>

The Town of Brownsburg strives to provide our community the best quality of treated wastewater while meeting the stringent requirements set by state and federal guidelines.  This is done to protect human health and the environment.

The Town’s wastewater treatment plant (West Plant) and pretreatment and pumping facility (East Plant) was put into operation in 1987, nearly 30 years ago.  The population of Brownsburg at that time was about 8,000.  The West Plant was expanded in 2000 to a capacity of 3.5 million gallons per day (mgd).  Most recently, the 1 million gallon combined sewer overflow tank was constructed in 2010. It captures most of the water from significant rain events and prevents thousands of gallons of wastewater that previously overflowed into White Lick Creek.

A master plan, updated in 2012, reviewed and evaluated the system’s conditions, capacity, and future needs. The 20-year plan identified a number of improvements that would increase capacity and efficiency, enhance safety, reduce maintenance, and prevent potential future environmental violations.  Several different alternatives for plant processes and phased construction were considered for cost savings     and not overly burden our current residents but to allow future growth to pay a portion of needed upgrades.

During 2009 to 2011, flows to the West Plant averaged 2.9 mgd, more than 80 percent of the plant’s capacity of 3.5 mgd. The demand on the system increases with the addition of new neighborhoods and commercial/industrial growth. The master plan recommends expanding the treatment plant capacity to 6.9 mgd to continue to treat flows to meet the newly regulated National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) while accommodating a projected population growth to approximately 41,050 residents by 2036. This is based on an average growth of 2.3 percent annually from 2006 to 2011.

Increasing bio-solids production and rising operational costs are just two of the challenges our treatment plants experience while operating so close to a treatment plant’s capacity.

Environmental regulations are constantly evolving and becoming more stringent.  For example, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management issued a new policy regarding phosphorous levels of treated water. This regulation requires the Town’s wastewater system to reduce phosphorous.  The only way this can be done is by installing upgrades. This is good for the environment – reducing phosphorous discharge reduces risks to aquatic life and plants, improves waterway quality, and protects public health – it’s a costly $1.1 million project. It also impacts future operational costs, because the processes required to treat wastewater while reducing phosphorus are more expensive. IDEM has given Brownsburg until mid-2018 to comply.  This is not a choice the Town of Brownsburg has to comply; any wastewater treatment facility must comply with these new regulations. Design of this project is at 60 percent.


The average equipment life expectancy for pumps and other mechanical devices used in wastewater treatment is typically 15 to 20 years. Some of Brownsburg’s treatment units are 20 to 30 years old and have been kept in operating condition with constant repair and maintenance. The system is in need of modernization, not only to improve treatment processes, but to improve energy efficiency and reduce maintenance on outdated equipment.

With the current equipment, too much debris enters the plant at the beginning of the treatment process. Upgrading to a screen system would remove finer debris and course solids that plug up pumps, and catches on equipment. Modernizing the equipment would minimize operational costs and better protect water quality.

The WWTP currently uses chlorine gas in its disinfection system to kill microorganisms. Modernizing this process to UV disinfection would be more effective at disinfection and save money in operations, energy, and long term maintenance costs.   

As the town has grown, a proposed regional lift station along US 136 is needed to allow the utilization of the sewer line along West Northfield Drive. This sewer line provides relief to a downstream sewer and lift station that are currently over their design capacity.  The location was chosen to allow for future flexibility and expansion as the need for capacity increases in the future.

SYSTEM EXPANSION AND UPGRADE
With all this in mind, the municipality is pursuing a nearly $27 million expansion of the Town’s wastewater treatment and sewer system. The project addresses the most critical capacity and operational needs first. This includes IDEM’s new phosphorous requirement. Less urgent modifications such as bio-solid process and main pumping station improvements (East plant) are being deferred to later project phases.

The list of immediate, short-term needs includes:
•    West Plant screen building
•    Phosphorus removal facilities (IDEM requirement)
•    Ultraviolet (UV) disinfection
•    Effluent filters to replace polishing ponds
•    Screening for West Lift Station flows
•    Water Reuse System upgrade
•    Effluent pipe size increase
•    Additional cascade aerators
•    Expand administration building originally designed for 4 employees
•    Secondary treatment upgrades

COST CONTROL AND FUNDING OPTIONS
Town staff and administration have worked diligently to keep the project costs, and ultimately the projected rate increase, as low as possible. The last rate increase was approved in 2010 for upgrades such as the combined sewer overflow storage facility. A sewer rate study was completed in 2013 to determine funding options for the currently proposed treatment plant and collection system improvements.
In anticipation of the Town’s capacity needs, the Town took advantage of the construction of West Northfield Drive to install a large diameter sewer line under the new road.  This removed at least $850,000 from the collection system upgrades being proposed now at a cost of only $650,000 — a savings of about $200,000.

An engineering review at the end of 2015 helped identify areas for potential savings in the design, which is currently at 60 percent complete. The review evaluated 14 key processes and made 12 cost-savings comments and 20 design considerations. A savings of $1.1 million resulted from the design modifications accepted, and an additional $2.6 million of project cost was placed on bid as alternates to allow additional flexibility with the project. As the design moves forward, town staff and the project design engineer continue to evaluate project elements to find additional direct construction cost savings.


Brownsburg WWTP staff visited 14 treatment facilities around the state to learn from others’ experiences.  The Town wanted to know what worked, what didn’t, and what they would do differently. Considering the long-term operation and maintenance of the system, staff consulted with various engineering firms for opinions on processes and success levels with more than 18 engineers visiting the plant. Finally, because of the specialized equipment necessary for wastewater treatment, staff met with a number of major components manufacturers to make sure bids will be competitive.

The potential for a public-private partnership for wastewater treatment was examined. A number of Indiana municipal plants have contracted with private companies, with varying degrees of costs and impacts both to rate payers and the plant itself. Municipal operators advised that if Brownsburg should consider the option, we should anticipate the need for continuous involvement and supervision by the Town’s wastewater staff.

The Town has examined ways to shift appropriate costs currently allocated to the sewer fund back to the general fund freeing up sewer funds to serve debt on projecting financing thus further reducing the amount of rate increase necessary to finance the project.  As a result of this examination, the allocation of some wages as well as insurance costs is being shifted to the general fund.  The Town may defer other planned projects in order to use that budget now on the WWTP expansion.


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