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Indiana American Water announces northern Shelbyville investment

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Representatives from Shelbyville and Shelby County government and from Indiana American Water break ground during Friday’s ceremony.
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This map shows the system improvements to Shelbyville. Indiana American Water announced a $17.6 million investment on the north side of Shelbyville on Friday.

By ROSS FLINT - rflint@shelbynews.com

Citing a “great partnership” that made it possible, representatives from the Shelbyville and Shelby County governments, and Indiana American Water broke ground Friday on a $17.6 million investment.

The investment includes installing nine miles of 20- and 16-inch transmission mains that will connect the London Road water treatment facility to Shelbyville’s system; expanding the London Road facility’s treatment capacity by two million gallons each day as well as adding two pumps; adding a 500,000 gallon storage tank and a transmission main near Interstate 74 and State Road 44; and building a pump station along East Michigan Road with a storage tank currently near by that will enhance system pressures and fire flows, according to a press release.

Representatives made the announcement Friday afternoon during a groundbreaking ceremony on the northwest side of Shelbyville, just south of Indiana Grand Casino & Racing.

“This investment is really the culmination of nearly a decade of discussion, dialogue and partnership in both Shelby County, Shelbyville and the town of Fairland nearby,” Matt Prine, president of Indiana American Water, told a group of local officials who attended the ceremony. “As we look to support our communities across the state and specifically here in (Shelby County), we couldn’t do what we do as a water provider to our communities without having that relationship and conversation.”

Stacy Hoffman, director of engineering of Indiana American Water, said that it will provide another source of supply and treatment to the current system. Shelbyville currently has a treatment plant on the Blue River that feeds to the south side.

The additional capacity will help the Shelbyville Fire Department, Chief Tony Logan said after the ceremony, providing a better water supply to the north and northwest side.

“One of the issues we have right now in the casino area is an adequate supply, but on demand, it would put us in jeopardy,” he said. “So bringing this line in supplements the casino area, and improves the water supply in Shelbyville so we can continue to expand and bring more companies to our city.”

Mayor Tom DeBaun said the project was included in the comprehensive plan, and that when he served as the planning director, officials laid out the idea 20 years ago.

“So it’s one of those things, it took time, but we stayed the plan and here we are today,” he said.

The water treatment plant on London Road that was built in 2009 currently serves customers in Johnson County and was built to be expanded. The forecasted demand in Shelby County at the time wasn’t realized due to the housing bust, Prine said.

While 10 years might seem like a long time, in the eyes of Indiana American Water, it is not, he said.

“At the end of the day, as growth necessitated the project, we’re able to be here and be a part of that,” he said. “The big challenge is making sure we don’t make investment that exceeds our capacity to be able to serve our customers.”

DeBaun also noted that it gives the residents of Fairland an opportunity to connect to domestic water.

“I think we’re very fortunate to break ground on this project,” he told those gathered. “It will, in the long term, serve the town of Fairland as well as open up hundreds of acres, if not over a thousand acres for future development as well. All these plans that we made years ago in our comprehensive plan are now coming to fruition, but it couldn’t have been done without your help.”

The new pipeline will be in service by November, Hoffman said.

The first phase of the project – adding another source of supply and treatment to the system of around two million gallons per day on the north side – will be in service in January. The second phase – a new elevated tank and pump station and creating a new pressure zone on the east side of Shelbyville that will increase pressure to that area – will be ready later next year.