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County RDC approves water line funding

The LaGrange County Redevelopment Commission (RDC) approved using current budgeted funds in the northern TIF district that encompasses Fawn River Crossing for the upcoming water line extension project at a meeting Friday morning.

The RDC has $435,000 budgeted for the extension of the 10-inch water line that currently stops just south of the Fawn River. The extension will take the line to the Exo-s facility (the former Multiplex location) on SR 9 just north of Howe. The line extension was promised by the county earlier this year to get the company to locate here.

The line was initially planned to provide not only potable water for the plant, but also for fire protection.

However, discussion Friday at the meeting centered around additional infrastructure that will be needed to satisfy the company’s insurance provider. The RDC was told that the 10-inch line will not be able to provide the amount of volume or pressure required by the insurance provider. According to Casey Erwin, an engineer with DLZ which is doing the engineering work on the project, the insurance provider is requiring 1,700 gallons per minute at 100 PSI. Tests at the end of the line show a maximum rate of 800 gallons per minute at 56 PSI. The pressure drops to around 23 when a hydrant is open, Erwin said.

Part of that problem is that it is only a 10-inch line, that it is a “stub” line, and not a loop system. It was also noted that, because there is not a lot of volume of water being used presently, the tower is only half full. Erwin told the board that the system could not achieve the amounts needed with a full tower or even a second tower.

It was noted that the fire requirements have increased since the system was designed. Commissioner Jac Price told the RDC that Multiplex had not required this amount of water due to the difference in the manufacturing that was done at that time.

The company has two options to meet the requirements, the RDC was told. Either a 20-inch well with a pressure booster or a large storage tank that would hold 150,000 gallons, along with a pumping station on site. The tank would be a private storage tank for fire suppression. The building would still receive its regular water supply from the Fawn River Crossing system. An above ground storage tank could cost as much as $800,000.

The county is set to open bids at the end of the month for the water line. It was discussed if the bids could include costs for a 12-inch line. Erwin said they could, but that a 12-inch line would still not be enough capacity to meet the requirements.

Board members discussed how much the county should or should not assist with any additional work needed beyond the water line extension, with discussion on additional work to be continued.

 The board also discussed the usefulness of a second tower that could create a loop system and increase the volume and pressure. Erwin told the board that a booster pump would still be needed at the Exo-s location.

Price told the RDC members that the assumption has been that, if a water line is extended north from LaGrange or south from Fawn River Crossing, where would be another water tower at some point.

For now, though, the county is staying with the water line extension to Exo-s only.