Hanover Town Board held a public hearing Tuesday on a potential $5.8 million sewer project involving both the town and Hanover College prior to its regular meeting at city hall.

Katie Castro Jackson, project manager with Wessler Engineering of Indianapolis, presented a preliminary engineering report on a project to improve the town’s existing sanitary collection system and treatment plant and provide a new extension of the sanitary collection system to Hanover College.

Castro Jackson noted the actual cost of the project will be determined after the project is designed and advertised for bids. She said Tuesday’s public hearing was required to be eligible for funding from the State Revolving Fund (SRF) Loan Program, administered by the Indiana Finance Authority to provide low-interest loans to municipalities for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure improvements. Additional funding is also expected to be sought from the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA).

Wessler Engineering will now request approval to continue design work on the project. Castro Jackson said an application for construction will most likely be submitted to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management in December with approval sometime in February of next year with a projected completion by August of 2023. She said the completion date “seems way out, but time moves very quickly.”

During the hearing Castro Jackson outlined several reasons for the necessity of the project. She said the wastewater disinfection system is outdated and past its useful life as well as a need to improve and increase lift station capacity to handle growth from future development. The project will provide a new ultraviolet disinfection system and a new lift station at the plant to increase capacity and efficiency.

Meanwhile, the collection system will include work to reduce bottlenecks near the plant and provide accessible manholes for maintenance along the interceptors. She also cited a termination of above ground lines and laterals at the college as well as new upsized interceptor and manholes along Hanover Beach Hill Road to the wastewater treatment plant as well as a sewer extension along College Avenue with lift stations and in-line meters.

Castro Jackson also provided several alternatives for both the town and the college to move forward.

The recommended alternative for consolidating college sewer lines is estimated to cost $2,972,000 and would include 1,420 linear feet of 10-inch PVC pipe along College Avenue and 490 feet of force main from grinder stations placed at buildings south of College Avenue. It would also include two new lift stations, both with estimated peak flow of 288,165 gallons per day.

The recommended alternative for the wastewater treatment plant is estimated to cost $2,908,000 and would increase the interceptor to 18 inches to the plant with approximately 2,270 linear feet of 18-inch PVC. The project would also involve adding 11 new manholes for access, the new ultraviolet disinfection system and a new plant lift station with estimated peak flow of 167,935 gallons per day.

The improvements would help decrease or eliminate back-ups, improve maintenance and compliance at the wastewater treatment plant, and improve storage capacity while eliminating potential surcharging at the plant lift station.

There were questions about how the project would impact Hanover Beach Hill, the road from the treatment plant to the Hanover Beach community along the Ohio River. Council member Treva Shelton noted it is important to maintain access on that road because residents don’t have other access to their homes.

“We will do our best so it’s not closed completely,” said Castro Jackson. She said there could be instances when only one lane might open, and there could be delays as flaggers alternate traffic during work periods.

In another matter related to the town’s water service, the council approved up to $7,000 for a federally mandated Risk and Resilience Assessment required for community water systems serving more than 3,300 people. Town attorney Devon Sharpe recommended the council conduct the assessment due to the town’s population of 3,546 being slightly more than the requirement.

“This is an unfunded mandate by the federal government,” said Tyler Graves, business development representative for Wessler Engineering. He noted that communities that do not comply with the RRA certification face the possibility of a civil penalty not to exceed $57,317 for each day in which a violation occurs. The deadline for submitting certification of completion is June 30. The RRA also includes an emergency response plan that includes strategies and resources to improve resilience including physical security and cyber security.