What opportunities are there for contracts or jobs as part of this program?
What is Renew Evansville?
How did combined sewer overflows (CSOs) become a problem for Evansville?
What are the highlights of the consent decree?
What does Renew Evansville include?
Where can I learn more about the national challenge of updating water and sewer infrastructure?
What was the result of the EPA’s review?
What happens if the Utility does not complete the improvements on time?
Have other cities faced similar sanctions from the EPA? Have their programs been as large as the one the Evansville Water and Sewer Utility is developing?
How does Renew Evansville relate to other City programs and initiatives?
When will construction begin? How long will it last?
Will Renew Evansville disrupt or affect the river in any way?
How will this program impact traffic? Will streets be closed?
How will the environment be impacted by this program?
Does this program include plans to bring sewer service to neighborhoods now on septic systems?
How do the construction projects underway on the southeast side of Evansville relate to Renew Evansville?
Who approves the program’s design, construction and budget?
What is the anticipated total cost of Renew Evansville?
How will the program be funded?
Will this program increase the rates of Evansville Water and Sewer Utility customers?
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Q: What opportunities are there for contracts or jobs as part of this program?
A:
All Renew Evansville contracts will be coordinated through the City of Evansville’s purchasing department. Visit www.evansvillegov.org for more information.
Q: What is Renew Evansville?
A:
Renew Evansville is the Evansville Water and Sewer Utility’s approximately 20-year plan to improve Evansville’s sewer system and comply with the Clean Water Act. Renew Evansville will significantly upgrade Evansville’s sewer system infrastructure and operations, and reduce sewer overflows.
Q: How did combined sewer overflows (CSOs) become a problem for Evansville?
A:
Approximately 100 years ago, Evansville and more than 1,000 other cities across the U.S. began building sewers to carry stormwater away from homes, businesses and streets. Later, with indoor plumbing, homes and businesses connected their sewage lines into those storm sewers, making them "combined" sewers. Wastewater treatment plants were constructed in the 1940s and 1950s to treat the waste, but in times of heavy rainfall or snowmelt, by design, wastewater overflowed into local bodies of water. Combined sewer overflows (CSOs) were the accepted method of dealing with wastewater until the CSO Control Policy was published in 1994.

In the past decade, Evansville has invested more than $120 million to improve its sewer system. While these projects are largely eliminating the decades-old problem of flooding on the south east side of Evansville and have expanded the capacity of its treatment plants, much work remains to address CSOs.

Q: What are the highlights of the consent decree?
A:
The consent decree addresses:
  • Immediate upgrades to existing infrastructure. 
  • The development of a long term capital plan to address combined sewer overflows and overflows and backups in parts of the separate sanitary sewer system. 
  • Sustainable and “green” infrastructure solutions. 
  • A regular and repeating sewer inspection and cleaning program.
Q: What does Renew Evansville include?
A:
This major capital program will include:
  • Immediate upgrades to existing infrastructure 
  • A long-term capital improvement program to address combined sewer overflows and overflows in parts of the separate sanitary sewer system 
  • Sustainable and “green” infrastructure solutions 
  • Improvements to the utility’s operations and maintenance
Q: Where can I learn more about the national challenge of updating water and sewer infrastructure?
A:
The American Water Works Association and Penn State have documented the challenge on a national level. A four-minute video about our aging system is available at www.liquidassets.psu.edu/Liquid_trailer.wmv.
Q: What was the result of the EPA’s review?
A:
The City of Evansville and Evansville Water and Sewer Utility entered into a consent decree – a binding legal agreement – with the EPA, Department of Justice and State of Indiana in November 2010. That agreement was approved by a federal court in June 2011. The consent decree outlines Evansville’s plan to significantly reduce its combined sewer overflows. That action plan is Renew Evansville.
Q: What happens if the Utility does not complete the improvements on time?
A:
Cities that do not meet the terms of the consent decree face fines and penalties. Many of these fines range from $1,000 to $8,000 for each day the terms are not met.
Q: Have other cities faced similar sanctions from the EPA? Have their programs been as large as the one the Evansville Water and Sewer Utility is developing?
A:
More than 1,000 cities across the U.S have developed long term CSO plans to comply with EPA’s CSO Control Policy. The larger the city, the more robust and expensive the efforts must be to address combined sewer overflows. Approximately 10 cities in Indiana have entered into consent decrees with the federal EPA. The other cities must still comply with the CSO policy, but their efforts are reviewed at the state level.
Q: How does Renew Evansville relate to other City programs and initiatives?
A:
The Evansville Water and Sewer Utility will coordinate planning, design and construction with several City departments, including those related to sustainability and maintaining streets and sidewalks.
Q: When will construction begin? How long will it last?
A:
The Evansville Water and Sewer Utility has until July 31, 2012, to finish the first draft of the Integrated Overflow Control Plan (IOCP), so specific construction projects have not yet been identified. Once Renew Evansville projects have been approved by federal and state officials, the Utility will have approximately 20 years to complete the construction projects to address overflows in the combined and separate systems. The Utility is currently documenting and analyzing the existing system. The IOCP will be available for public comment from late July to late September.
Q: Will Renew Evansville disrupt or affect the river in any way?
A:
Renew Evansville will significantly reduce pollution in the Ohio River and Pigeon Creek. No projects are being considered that would reduce or block access, or negatively affect the river in any way.
Q: How will this program impact traffic? Will streets be closed?
A:
The Utility believes impacts to traffic are likely. Construction for Renew Evansville is at least one year away. The Evansville Water and Sewer Utility will work closely with other City departments to ensure traffic restrictions are temporary and kept to a minimum.
Q: How will the environment be impacted by this program?
A:
Renew Evansville will help to improve water quality in Pigeon Creek and the Ohio River. Combined sewer overflows (CSOs) often contain municipal and industrial wastes, floating debris and disease-causing pathogens, among other contaminants, so greatly reducing CSOs will improve water quality.
Q: Does this program include plans to bring sewer service to neighborhoods now on septic systems?
A:
Part of the consent decree includes supplemental environmental projects, two of which include switching neighborhoods that have failing septic systems over to the City’s system. None of the projects constructed by 2032 through Renew Evansville will include septic tank elimination, though.
Q: How do the construction projects underway on the southeast side of Evansville relate to Renew Evansville?
A:
There are six projects on the southeast side of Evansville that seek to eliminate neighborhood flooding. Those projects include some elimination of combined sewers, but the projects are mostly not related to Renew Evansville.
Q: Who approves the program’s design, construction and budget?
A:
The federal and state regulators will give final approval for Renew Evansville and its programs. While Renew Evansville is being developed, community members’ feedback will be collected through a Community Advisory Committee, on the website and at public meetings.
Q: What is the anticipated total cost of Renew Evansville?
A:
Specific construction costs have not yet been outlined; however, Renew Evansville is expected to be the largest capital improvement program in Evansville’s history.
Q: How will the program be funded?
A:
Renew Evansville will be funded mostly through user fees. The Utility will pursue low interest loans and grants where possible to help offset some of the costs.
Q: Will this program increase the rates of Evansville Water and Sewer Utility customers?
A:
Yes, customers will see rates increase, although the estimated cost of the project and its future impact on utility rates has not yet been determined. Renew Evansville will be the largest capital improvement program in the City’s history.
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http://www.vanderburghgov.org/index.aspx?page=2875