Company also provides details on $127 million
in water infrastructure investment
Indiana American Water, a subsidiary of American Water Company (NYSE: AWK), joined Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, community leaders and project partners at a groundbreaking ceremony Friday, November 2, 2018 to kick off phase two of a major transmission main replacement project in northwest Indiana. The project includes installing nearly two miles of 36” water main in Gary, Ind. to replace an existing 20” water main that is nearly a century old.
The project, which will replace older steel and cast iron pipe that has experienced numerous breaks, runs along 13th, 12th and 11th Avenues from Chase Street to Monroe Street. The project will enhance system flows, reliability and firefighting capabilities and will also mitigate occurrences of low system pressures and enable the company to avoid the cost of having to replace two existing below ground pump stations that are at the end of their useful life.
“We have made significant upgrades to our water infrastructure in the nearly two decades we have owned the northwest Indiana system,” said Indiana American Water President Deborah Dewey. “Many parts of the original system have been in place for up to a century or more and are in need of replacement or rehabilitation.
“Investment in water infrastructure is critical to the success of any community, and these investments help to ensure water quality, system reliability and the safety of our employees and surrounding neighborhoods,” Dewey continued. “Much of Lake and Porter counties depend on us to provide quality water service, and it is through our regular investment in water infrastructure that we are able to deliver high-quality service to all of our customers here.”
Indiana American Water also provided details on more than $127 million of investment in the Northwest Indiana area over the last several years, including nearly $67 million to replace or relocate water mains and hydrants, $23 million to install new meters and service lines, and approximately $38 million for improvements to pumping, treatment, storage, and operations facilities.
Major projects include upgrading the company’s Borman Park water treatment facility by replacing existing 65-year-old pump station electrical equipment, converting from gaseous chlorine disinfection to liquid sodium hypochlorite to improve safety, and rehabilitating the original Borman Park pump station and filter building structures.
Other projects in northwest Indiana include constructing a new backwash water storage tank at the Borman Park treatment facility, replacing an intake structure in Lake Michigan, improvements to the Michigan Street service center, replacing an aging booster pump station along I-94 in Chesterton, and installing 2,100 feet of large-diameter water main to loop dead end mains near the Damon Run pumping station to improve water quality, system pressures and fire flows to the eastern portion of the company’s northwest Indiana service area.
Nationally, much of the nation’s critical water infrastructure is aging and is well past its useful life. The American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) latest Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, issued every four years since 2001, earlier this year gave the nation’s water systems a D grade, and wastewater systems a D+ grade. This remains in line with the last few reports and heightens the sense of urgency to take actions that will turn around the condition of the nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure.
A 2016 study by the Indiana Finance Authority echoed the ASCE’s recommendations for significant investment in water infrastructure. The report evaluated Indiana’s water infrastructure and estimated more than $2.3 billion in infrastructure needs for drinking water systems across the state, and found that an additional $815 million is needed annually to maintain the systems into the future.
A breakdown of water systems can result in water disruptions, impediments to emergency response, and damage to other types of infrastructure. The price tag for the critical upkeep and replacement of the nation’s outdated water systems is at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years, according to estimates by the American Water Works Association.