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Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett

We're keeping up with Mayor Duke Bennett on Ask The Mayor. We've got a slate of questions for the first-term Republican. But how about yours?

Faced with a $130 million mandate from the Environmental Protection Agency to fix its sewer system, the City of Terre Haute will quadruple current sewer rates over the next two decades.

“They’re telling us it’ll be up in the $60’s, between $60 and $66 dollars a month,” said Duke Bennett, Terre Haute mayor.

He says Terre Haute’s sewer system was built during the Civil War and routed all waste into the Wabash River before the city built a sewage treatment plant in the 1960s. Currently if the city receives more than a quarter inch of rain sewage is released into the river to relieve the sewer system. Bennett says that happens roughly 25 times a year.

The EPA says the city will need to spend more than $130 million to fix the problem. That’s based on an estimate of roughly two percent of the city’s annual income.

“That’s kind of the minimum. They can tell us we need to spend more than that two percent. I’ve heard other communities that have been required because the problem may be so great in their area that they have to spend more than that two percent. That’s minimum amount we’ll have to spend,” Bennett said.

Bennett says although the project is slated to take 20 years, he doesn’t anticipate it will be done by 2029.

  • dennistibbetts

    I assume that you must temper your questions and lob softballs to these mayors or risk having them drop out of the program.

    But, Daniel, I congratulate you on stepping a little closer to the cliff yesterday with Mayor Fred regarding the trash ordinance. I believe it is unbelievably arrogant of Mayor and Council to totally ignore a room filled with 200 people agitating for curbside recycling. At the second reading of this ordinance on Dec 1, we were actually told that the public could not discuss recycling during the public comments period.

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