INDIANAPOLIS – Mayor Greg Ballard and the Indianapolis Department of Public Works (DPW) are moving forward with plans to extend sanitary sewers on the northwest side of Indianapolis. The Crooked Creek Area Sewer Improvements project will create capacity needed for thousands of homes to connect to the sanitary sewer system as part of the Septic Tank Elimination Program (STEP), while achieving approximately $50 million in construction cost savings.

To resolve capacity problems in the existing Belmont North Interceptor, DPW will begin construction in mid-2009 on the Belmont North Relief Interceptor. The new seven-mile interceptor will extend from 10th Street to 62nd Street near Crooked Creek and the White River. The project will accommodate community growth and future STEP projects on the city’s north, central and northwest sides.

“This long-anticipated project marks a major investment in the public infrastructure of our city,” Mayor Ballard said. “With this new sewer interceptor, we will improve water quality and quality of life, while reducing our environmental impact through the use of green and sustainable technologies.”

From 2009 to 2013, the city plans to bring sewers to more than 7,000 homes currently on septic systems, and nearly 30 percent of these homes are located in the Crooked Creek area. The Belmont North Relief Interceptor must be completed before these homes can connect to the sanitary sewer. Through STEP, residents will be able to abandon failing septic systems, which can leach raw sewage into the groundwater that flows into neighborhood ditches, local streams and rivers. Connecting homes currently on septic systems to the sanitary sewer system not only will improve quality of life in those neighborhoods but also the water quality in Crooked Creek and the White River.

“I’m working to make Indianapolis a more livable city, and eliminating septic systems is vital to fulfilling that goal,” Mayor Ballard said. “When kids can’t play in their back yard because a septic system is failing, that’s no way to live. Our aggressive plan to bring sewers to Indianapolis neighborhoods over the next five years will certainly make a difference in the lives of many residents.”

The existing Belmont North Interceptor carries sewage to the city’s advanced wastewater treatment plant from Center, western Washington, Pike and northeastern Wayne townships. In recent years, development in these areas has pushed the capacity of the existing interceptor beyond its limits. Neighborhoods served by the Belmont North Interceptor are expected to continue growing, and once fully developed will generate up to 50 million gallons of wastewater per day. The addition of the Belmont North Relief Interceptor will accommodate the present and future needs of the Crooked Creek area.

Energy Savings and Green Concepts
Midway into design phase, DPW reviewed the Crooked Creek Area Sewer Improvements project to identify efficiencies and cost savings through value engineering. Following a detailed analysis of the design, the city identified an alternative that would cost less to construct and be less disruptive to the community.

The design includes a gravity sewer that will carry wastewater along a downward slope, and in areas where gravity flow is not possible, a force main sewer and lift station will move wastewater from a lower to higher elevation. The gravity and force main sewer approach will allow the city to save approximately $50 million in capital costs and construct the relief interceptor more quickly.

The design also will provide for flexibility in the pipe location, which will reduce the impact on homeowners’ trees and landscaping, and minimize traffic disruption during construction. In addition, DPW will be evaluating green concepts at the lift station including renewable energy, natural stormwater management and the use of recycled or locally supplied materials.

Residential Impacts
In mid-2009, the gravity sewer will be constructed from 10th Street and Miley Avenue to Lafayette Road and 19th Street. In late 2009, construction will begin on the force main sewer at Lafayette Road and 19th Street and will continue north to Juan Solomon Park near the intersection of Fox Hill Drive and Grandview Drive, where a lift station will be constructed.

Planning, design, construction and inspection for the project are estimated to cost approximately $100 million, and the project will be completed in late 2011.

As part of the project, in 2006, DPW repaired worn manholes and sections of sewer, which were overloaded and deteriorated due to age. This rehabilitation phase patched weak joints that allowed rain to seep into the sewer system, adding to pipes that already were at or over capacity. The clear water was taking up space in the sewer needed to transport sewage to the treatment plant.

The Crooked Creek Area Sewer Improvements project is part of the city’s Clean Streams-Healthy Neighborhoods program, which is designed to curb raw sewage overflows into rivers and streams, address chronic flooding, eliminate failing septic tanks and improve quality of life in Indianapolis neighborhoods. Clean Streams-Healthy Neighborhoods is part of the city’s SustainIndy initiative.

Mayor Ballard launched SustainIndy and created the Office of Sustainability in October 2008. Both represent an innovative enterprise aimed at delivering long-term cost savings to the city, building the local economy, improving our quality of life and enhancing our environmental and public health. Its efforts are designed to aggressively move Indianapolis forward in making it one of the most sustainable cities in the Midwest. For more information, visit www.sustainindy.org.