The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

April 25, 2013

Constructed wetlands wins honor

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) announced Tuesday that it selected Bernardin Lochmueller & Associates’ wetland treatment system in Washington, Ind. for a 2013 Engineering Excellence Honor Award.

  ACEC, the leading engineering trade association, evaluated 146 submissions and selected the Washington project as one of 24 to recognize nationally.

Like many Midwestern cities, Washington’s sanitary and stormwater system were originally combined in order to save money. However as the city grew, it didn’t have enough storage capacity and as little as 1/10 of an inch of rain caused combined-sewer overflows (CSOs) of sewage mixed with rainwater directly into waterways.

The city needed to fix this, but the traditional approaches of separating sewer and stormwater pipes or adding wastewater treatment plant capacity would have cost $53 million, according to one study. That is the equivalent of nearly $11,800 for each household in this small city. The wetland project was started under then-Mayor Larry Haag.

The city’s CSOs flowed into Hawkins Creek, which runs through residential neighborhoods.

Between rains, the creek dried, turning gray and foul smelling. It supported no wildlife. A 2001 water quality study found unsafe levels of many contaminants, and the city posted signs warning residents that contact with the creek could make them sick.

Washington asked BLA to develop a solution that would incorporate “green design” to lower costs. BLA’s engineers devised a system that cost $26 million less to build, when compared with the next lowest-cost alternative. The solution also cut projected annual operating costs by $1.6 million.

Now, when it rains, the CSOs flow to a 5-mg storage tank where it’s held until the wastewater treatment plant can process it. When the tank is full, CSOs travel via two 84-inch pipes to a 27-acre constructed wetland.

There, fine sediment settles in the forebay and then plants filter out contaminants. The effluent passes through a UV disinfection system before being discharged into Hawkins Creek.

In June, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) approved the system, saying it met Washington’s Clean Water Act obligations. The system handled its first major rain events in September. 

Water quality tests showed that the water being discharged by the wetland system surpassed IDEM’s quality requirements and even surpassed the more stringent standards for the city’s wastewater treatment plant. For the first time in years, Hawkins Creek has minnows, frogs, and other wildlife.

Mayor Joe Wellman said the project is a real advantage as the city works to capitalize on its newly opened I-69 exit.

“A lot of cities and towns are struggling with how to address combined-sewer overflows,” Wellman said. “We’re ahead of the curve in the sense that we’ve not only cleaned up local waterways, we’ve also provided a stable base for economic development.”

The project has also been recognized by the ACEC Indiana Chapter, Water & Wastes Digest, and Engineering New-Record, Midwest.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Thomas, Hilton hurt in Wednesday's practice ANDERSON — After a physical practice Wednesday afternoon at Anderson University, the Indianapolis Colts are hoping they have not lost another starter.Left guard Donald Thomas hit the ground following an 11-on-11 running drill and was visibly upset wh

    August 1, 2014

  • SPT-WT-080114-WERNER PIC Werner's progress evident at Colts Camp ANDERSON — Bjoern Werner’s rookie training camp was rather quiet.The German-born outside linebacker went through individual drills and worked hard in full-team sessions, but he was overwhelmed by all the new information he was processing. And it was

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Today's police report CITY REPORT Thursday 3:24 a.m. - Police investigated a motorcycle accident at the corner of Northwest Third Street and West Main Street. Officers say the operator lost control of the vehicle while attempting to make a turn because the kickstand was s

    July 31, 2014

  • Band01 Golden Pride put pieces together for new show For the 30-plus members of the Washington High School Golden Pride marching band, the past two weeks have been long and full of work. After one week of exclusively working on music the band hit the field and began putting together the marching pieces

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Hoosier Democrats call for campaign funding limits Indiana Democrat candidates and party leaders brought their "we can do better" government campaign tour to Bloomington. The Democrats called for a lot of changes. One of those on hand was District 39 Senate candidate Steve Lindsey who called for more

    July 31, 2014

  • Kruchten moved to Knox County A Daviess County jail inmate facing murder charges has been temporarily moved to Knox County. Reports that Donal Kruchten, who was arrested in April in connection with the murder of Devan Burris, was moved to the Knox County Jail for his own safety a

    July 31, 2014

  • Dailae abd Vincdnt.jpg Dailey and Vincent return to SJG ODON — Lovers of bluegrass music will have a chance to see the award winning bluegrass duo of Dailey and Vincent perform at the Simon J. Graber Community Building Saturday. Tickets for the event are only available at the door at are $15 for adults, $

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Colts get to take a break ANDERSON — There was a change in the Indianapolis Colts training camp schedule Monday as the team had just one practice instead of the usual two. With the Colts set to have Tuesday as an already scheduled day off, head coach Chuck Pagano combined the

    July 31, 2014

  • Washington City Council hears 2015 budget proposals Mayor Joe Wellman and the members of the Washington City Council met with city department heads Wednesday evening to hear the proposed budgets for 2015. Wellman said he had proposed pay increases for both hourly and salary employees. Those increases

    July 30, 2014

  • Barr-Reeve responds to teachers' complaint MONTGOMERY — The Barr-Reeve Community School Corporation has responded to the unfair labor practice complaint filed by the Barr-Reeve Classroom Teachers Association against the corporation. Earlier this month, the CTA filed the complaint with Indiana

    July 30, 2014