Terre Haute’s mayor says the recession may be accelerating planning and construction of the city’s planned combined sewer overflow system. Duke Bennett says the first phase of the plan, which was estimated to cost eight million dollars, will only cost the city about six million. Those savings, Bennett said, will be passed along.
“Now we can take that two million dollars we saved – because that’s money we have in hand – and start the design work, which probably accelerates the next construction project by about a year,” he said.
The mayor says a down economy means it’s the perfect time to build because equipment and personnel costs are lower. Indiana Department of Environmental Management spokeswoman Amber Finkelstein said speeding up construction means less time for the city to incur possible infractions – and the fines from IDEM which come with them – and offers fresh water sooner.
“IDEM does not give any formal credit for completing an implementation plan early,” Finkelstein said. “However we do encourage this because it does improve the water quality and can take care of problems that exist in the river that much quicker.”
Terre Haute’s combined sewer overflow plan was originally slated to cost $130 million and take as long as two decades to complete.