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Sunday March 18, 2018

sewage plant going solar

Thursday, February 22, 2018 08:22 AM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News

The waste water treatment plant in LaPorte will be totally operated by solar energy under $6 million in upgrades that include water meters capable of quickly detecting leaks.

The projected energy savings is expected to pay for the entire project during the course of a 20-year bond issue approved unanimously Tuesday night by the city council.

If not, Schneider Electric out of Crown Point under a service agreement with the city will give back the difference.

''There's our pay back,'' said LaPorte Waste Water Department superintendent Jerry Jackson.

It will cost four million dollars to put up a solar energy facility to power the waste water treatment plant on Boyd Boulevard.

Jackson said he expects that work close to the treatment plant to begin in March and finish up during the summer.

The balance of the bond issue is going toward new meters for every water customer.

LaPorte Water Department superintendent Todd Taylor said the water meters will automatically detect losses from as large as main breaks to as small as toilets in a residence left running.

The meters will also pinpoint the exact location of water escaping.

Right now, Taylor said breaks often go undetected until major symptoms develop like sinkholes or a customer receiving an usually high monthly bill.

Crews then have to go out and find where the water prior to consumption is escaping which can be time consuming especially when digging is involved.

He said a substantial reduction should be made in the 25-percent of water leaving through breaks and cracks in the over 100-year old system once pumped from the ground.

The new meters daily will also transmit readings electronically for more accurate billing.

''We won't have to have meter readers going around the city,'' said Taylor.

The city is entertaining thoughts of creating a waste water district that would impose separate fees on customers to help pay for major projects in areas like flood relief.

Jackson said finishing extensive drainage work at Monroe Manor ranks high on a list of millions of dollars in much needed improvements.
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