Sewer project update provided

    During Monday's weekly meeting of the Adams County Commissioners, health department attorney Adam Miller updated the group on the status of the W. Monroe Street sewer project, which is extending the possibility of connections to Decatur's sewer system to eight homeowners on the street who currently live beyond the city limits. Last October, Decatur Mayor John Schultz and other city officials offered 42 homeowners, under orders from the Adams County Health Department, to abandon their septic systems, with the option of tying into the city's sewer system.
    Since the 42 properties are under orders from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to reduce combined sewer overflows, the possibility of connecting to the city's sewer system appears to be the only solution to resolving the untenable situation. All 42 homes are located within 300 feet of the existing city sewer system, making the connections the most cost-efficient manner in complying with the county mandate.
    Miller noted the city has paid for engineering studies to preliminarily prepare for the connections, and has secured a grant to help those homeowners who choose to opt-in to the project. Although meetings have been held with property owners to discuss the specifics of the project, Miller stated "no one has as yet signed on" to participate in the program, adding that "all property owners have been pretty positive."
    The extensions to the eight homeowners on W. Monroe Street have "not as yet started," Miller noted, pointing out that this is the first phase of the proposed sewer connections and will serve as a test for the remainder of the project. The next phase will involve bidding the project before actual construction and installation can begin.
    While reporting on the status of the W. Monroe Street project, Miller informed the commissioners that a grant had been secured to cover $7,500 of the total tap-in fee expense of $9,500 for eight residents of the street. Miller noted that the grant would cover $60,000 of the $76,000 estimated price tag of the Monroe Street project.
    Tuesday afternoon, Decatur Mayor John Schultz disagreed with the semantics of Miller's statement, indicating that while the city is indeed planning on paying a portion of the total cost associated with each homeowner tapping into the city's sewer system, he is unaware of the existence of a federal or state grant to defray those expenses. Rather, Schultz said that a study has indicated the city will recoup its investment in the defraying portion of the tap-in fees over a period of time through the addition of monthly sewer expenses, garbage pick-up and other city services for which the residents will be charged.
    He added that the exact amount of the city's anticipated portion of the tap-in fee has yet to be determined. 
    The 42 homeowners offered the possibility of connecting to the city's sewer system are located along the northwest part of Winchester Rd., W. Monroe Street, Countryside West, Eiting Acres, N. Piqua Road and CR 500W.