NEW HAVEN – New Haven City Council members discussed several options Tuesday for a long-range plan to reduce or eliminate overflows of sewage and rainwater that occur during heavy rainfalls.
In May 2011, when a torrential rainfall hit Allen County, New Haven – which pumps its wastewater to Fort Wayne City Utilities for treatment – experienced sewer backups and overflows because Fort Waynes lines were also overloaded.
Three alternatives for preventing future overflows included retaining, treating and releasing excessive overflows; installing a tank to store the excess waters until it could be pumped to City Utilities; or installing pumps that would maximize pumping capacity and flow.
Costs for the plans ranged from about $1 million to $1.3 million.
Those costs include operational and maintenance costs of the treatment plants, said Keith Schlegel, the citys director of engineering.
The plan for high-capacity pumps would not work, Schlegel said, because Fort Wayne does not have the capacity to accept the overflows.
Sewer rates would increase, although the goal was to keep sewer rates at about 2 percent of the communitys median income, a guideline recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency, said Ben Adams, of Commonwealth Engineering.
Last year, in an unusually hot and dry year with only two overflows, New Haven paid City Utilities $1.2 million to treat its wastewater. By the end of August this year, there had been 14 overflows and treatment costs had exceeded $1.2 million.
Since 2006, the city has absorbed five rate increases from City Utilities, Mayor Terry McDonald said.
Its at the point where we can simply not absorb any more increases, McDonald said.
Tim Doyle, a resident in the 1000 block of Bell Avenue, urged the mayor and council to remember the older neighborhoods that were built on lower ground when making a decision.
In 2011, Doyle had 15 inches of sewer back up into his basement, ruining his furnace, he said.
Now you are trying to correct the problem and taking into consideration new growth, but I dont want my home to be the sacrificial sewer storage, Doyle said.
There are enough homes in my neighborhood in foreclosure and many of those foreclosures are due to that, he said. email@example.com