$18M upgrade coming to Elkhart sewage treatment

Wastewater treatment in Elkhart is in for an $18 million upgrade. Members of the City Council decided on Monday to issue bonds to fund the project, with the help of the State Wasterwater Revolving Fund. Pictured: In the final step at the sewage treatment plant in Aarhus, Denmark, wastewater goes through oxidation before being released to a stream. 

ELKHART — An $18.4 million upgrade to Elkhart sewage treatment came closer to reality Monday evening when the City Council approved an ordinance to issue bonds up to that amount.

The bonds will fund four sewage projects: construction of a splitter box to distribute flow more efficiently, two new treatment tanks, a pump station from clarifying tanks to aeration tanks, and automation of the step feed process allowing that process to begin automatically during wet weather events.

The city is required by the federal government to reduce its combined sewage overflow, and this project is a step in that direction, city engineer Mike Machlan said.

According to City of Elkhart corporation counsel Vlado Vranjes, the city expects to participate in the State Wastewater Revolving Fund, a loan program offered by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the Indiana Finance Authority.

The revolving fund provides communities looking to finance wastewater system and treatment plant improvements with “well-below market interest rates,” according to Vranjes.

According to the ordinance, the bonds must be awarded to the best bidder, and the interest rate must not exceed 6% per year over 22 years. The Controller’s Office will publish a notice of bond sales in The Elkhart Truth.

The bonds are payable from the sewage works revenues collected from the users of the city’s sewage works only.

Follow Rasmus S. Jorgensen on Twitter at @ReadRasmus

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