The Shipshewana West sewer project continues to move along as questions continue to be raised by residents who seek to have the project stopped.
During the district board’s meeting Wednesday, Shipshewana Lake property owner Bob Fiedler asked if the district had complied with certification forms and other federal requirements relating to easements in the project. Fiedler insisted that it appeared that the district had not complied with the regulations in the USDA grant process and other forms. “With that in consideration, I ask that construction cease and desist and that the district take the time to see if it is compliant with federal regulations,” Fiedler said.
Board President Mike Sutter insisted that the district had complied with all regulations required by Rural Development, which administers the grants for the project in Indiana.
The district’s legal counsel, John Gastineau, added that his and Fiedler’s “legal opinion have frequently diverged.” Gastineau noted that, in the past, Fiedler had indicated that the district was not compliant on other issues, and had been found wrong in those cases.
The board then received an update on the construction progress from project engineer Steve Henschen. As of this week, over 12 percent of the pressure and lateral lines have been installed, Henschen said. The contractor has installed 24 of the planned 145 grinder pumps, or about 17 percent.
All of the grinder pumps along CR 25N, 260N and 900W have been installed, he said. The contractor will continue to complete installation of lines and grinder pumps along the south end of Shipshewana Lake as they move along the east side through September. The west side of the lake should see construction and line installation taking place in September and October.
The most recent projection has the project completed in mid-October.
Henschen told the board that they have started a list of every property within the project and a checklist of water wells located on those properties. The locations are being verified and the contractor and engineers are working to ensure that there is at least a 10 ft. separation between the well and any pipe.
Henschen said that, of the 194 customers, 163 wells have been located and documented. There are 23 well locations that they have not found, Henschen said, noting that they may either be within the footprint of a building or inside a shed or other structure.
On the eight properties that have not signed an easement for the project, Henschen said they did a visual inspection to see if they could locate the wells.
The board was asked to approve pay application #3 from Niblock for $317,630.98. Henschen said that, with the application, the contractor has claimed 30 percent of the cost, while 60 percent of the project time has passed. That rate will pick up as the project heads toward completion, Henschen said.
In other business:
The board tabled action on a property in Region B. The district has known for some time that a residence had been occupied, but not on the system. The owners had been applying for a Habitat for Humanity house, and the district had delayed action until they knew the results of the application. The owners were not named as a partner family.
Board member Bob Murphy volunteered to get updated information on the residents, including working with the county and township trustee to see if they can arrange any needed assistance.
The board was made aware of a home on CR 475S near Big Turkey Lake that did not appear to be on the district’s system. Although it appears that the home should be on the system, it was not connected and the plans did not show a pump being placed to service the property.
A second building, which houses a business, also appears to not be hooked into the system.
The board asked Gastineau and the staff to gather information on how the buildings were missed and what steps the district can take.
The board approved sending a request to the LaGrange County Redevelopment Commission for a $30,225 stirring system for the water tower at Fawn River Crossing. The system would help prevent icing in the tower during the winter. Sutter and operations manager Don Skinner plan to attend the RDC meeting on Friday, Aug. 17.