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CANNELTON - Doug Ralston of the Bernardin-Lochmueller engineering firm of Evansville provided May 10 a legally mandated summary of a proposed long-term control plan for separating sanitary from storm sewers in Cannelton. City leaders found in 2007 both types of sewer lines converge, which could have sanitary lines flushed out into public waterways during heavy rains. It could also allow rain water to be sent to Tell City for costly but unnecessary treatment.
"Most communities along the Ohio River are overflow communities," he told common-council members during their regular meeting for May. When Cannelton's and other cities' sewer systems were constructed, "dilution is the solution to pollution" was the prevailing mindset, he said, meaning it was considered acceptable to let the river catch overflows.
A long-term plan adopted in January included the construction of two storage tanks that could catch and hold water until it could be sent into the storm-sewer system without overflows, Ralston reminded the council, but that is an expensive alternative. He said an option every community is required to examine is the addition of sewer lines to route storm water away from the sanitary sewer.
"Most of your system is already separated," he told city leaders, "but we're not sure what your underground network looks like."
Sending cameras into Tell City's underground pipes provided information that allowed that city to save more than $1 million, Ralston said.
He also said two options for treating Cannelton's waste in-city were examined but found not to be cost-effective. Cannelton sends its sanitary sewage to Tell City for treatment, and "you have a really good deal with Tell City," which remains the best option, Ralston said.
An incentive to act now exists in "the flood of money from the federal government to get our country back on track," he told the council.
City attorney Chris Goffinet suggested the council make a preliminary determination on which way it intended to proceed, then make their next meeting a public hearing to get city residents involved.
"This plan makes the most sense," Councilman Adam Goffinet said. "We don't want to be building big catch basins."
The council adopted his motion that the city pursue the separation option, continue to pump sewage to Tell City, and set and advertise a public hearing. They also approved a motion to authorize Mayor Smokey Graves to sign documents seeking money from the state's Revolving Loan Fund and communicate the city's intent to state officials.
In other business, the mayor said John Young III resigned from the city's economic-development commission, so the council needed to name a replacement. The council authorized Clerk-Treasurer Arvina Bozarth to attend training, which made a change necessary in the June meeting date.
The public-works board and council will meet at 6 and 7 p.m., respectively, June 21.
Acting on a request from Councilwoman Lynn Fulkerson, the council named the Cannelton Foundation the sole planning agency for the city's 175th anniversary in 2012.
Input from community members will be welcomed, she said.