I’m making a New Year’s resolution a bit early this year. I started this blog several years ago, but work, life, and my other responsibilities keep me extremely busy. I really believe that it’s important to keep everyone informed on happenings in New Haven – including City Council, the Chamber, Community Foundation, Parks Department, etc., so I’m going to make an effort to keep this updated. I’ll shoot for once a month and see what happens. I apologize in advance for the length of this post. Lots to catch up on.
Infiltration and Inflow (I & I)
One of the biggest issues that City Council will have to deal with in the near future is how to improve our sewage system. The City of Fort Wayne’s Utility Department provides our water and treats our sewage. The big issue in New Haven is that when we have heavy rains, a lot of rainwater gets mixed in with the sewage and it’s sent to Fort Wayne to be processed. Our normal sewage processing bill to Fort Wayne is around $80,000 a month. The bad news is that we’ve had months that hit closer to $300,000 when we’ve had heavy rain. The cause for the huge discrepancy in costs are Infiltration (holes in pipes, bad fittings, bad manholes) and Inflow (illegal connections to our sanitary sewer system from sump pumps and downspouts).
The City is actively working on cutting down on Infiltration. They’ve performed smoke testing to find leaks and have used their video equipment to locate issues. A lot of the problem are with the older clay pipes used prior to the early eighties. They can crack or disintegrate causing clear water to enter our sanitary sewer system. They’ve even found issues with the newer PVC pipes used in newer additions. Some of the connections to the City’s lateral pipes in the street have bad connections – or they’ve been damaged by construction or other reasons. We currently have ten projects in the Lakes of Scarborough addition that the city is working on. Any damage to yards will be repaired in the Spring.
Inflow is a completely different issue. Many homes still have sump pumps and/or downspouts connected directly to the sanitary sewer. It’s costing New Haven a fortune to treat this clean water. City Council is working with the Utility Department to develop a plan to require homeowners to disconnect their sump pumps/downspouts from the sanitary sewer. If the homeowners refuse, they’ll have a fine attached to their monthly water/sewer bills. We don’t have all the details worked out yet, but basically – all New Haven homes will need to pass an inflow inspection. We will give homeowners at least a six month period to have their homes inspected before any fines are levied. And if any issues are found during the inspection, the homeowners will be given advice on what needs to be fixed.
We just absolutely have to get this under control. If we don’t reduce I&I quickly, the sewage rates you now pay will greatly increase to pay for sewage storage systems that will just delay sending it to Fort Wayne. The Indiana Department of Energy Management is requiring this compliance. The estimated cost for building a storage pipe holding system is over $12 million. With the constantly rising sewage fees we pay to Fort Wayne, this problem is getting more and more expensive – not to mention the disaster of overflowing sewage into our rivers when Fort Wayne’s system is overloaded with rain water. We need to stop sending storm water to Fort Wayne and ultimately paying them to treat it.
If you think your sump pump or downspouts are incorrectly connected, please contact Dave Jones at the Utility Department at (260) 748-7056 for a free inspection. They can help determine a suitable discharge location and solution. Watch for a lot more information coming soon. The first phase of our plan is an educational program for the residents of New Haven.
Video Series Coming Soon to Promote New Haven
We’ve been working on a video series promoting how New Haven is a great place to live, work and play. We’ll be creating the videos to hit three different targets – Quality of Life/Housing/Education – Small Business – and Industrial Development. We want to keep New Haven growing, and we hope this will help get the word out. We’ll be running the future segments as Facebook posts, TV commercials, and we’ll have a special website that will host all of them. We’re proud of New Haven and I think you will be too. There are a lot of great things happening right now. Here is a link to our first “teaser” video. https://youtu.be/2l0pe2GYt8k
New Haven Community Foundation updates
The New Haven Community Foundation continues to do great things for the New Haven area. We teamed up with the Parks Department and the New Haven Chamber this Spring to build a great Band Shell in Schnelker Park. The Parks Dept. will be using it for concerts, plays, and anything else they can think of. We also helped fund the roof over the concession stand, pavers and new sidewalks. In addition to the Band Shell, the Foundation gave grants to Food Banks, the Allen County Education Partnership, Power House Youth Center, Cornerstone Youth Center and East Allen Family Resource Center. We also helped in raising the money to purchase a K-9 dog for the New Haven Police Department. It’s been a very busy year and as always, we appreciate any contributions to our funds. You can be assured that your tax deductible contribution will be used to enhance the quality of life in New Haven and build our endowment fund. For more information on the Foundation, please drop me an email, or call Charlie Hatten at the New Haven Chamber. Their number is 260-749-4484.
Update on the New Haven Community Center
I’ve had the honor and responsibility of being the Building Committee Chair for our new Community Center. It’s been a lot of work, but we’re getting there. The parking lot paving was completed the week before Thanksgiving (base coat so far – finish will be done next Spring), the lights are up, the sign is lit, and we’re getting ready to move the Parks Department into their new home the middle of December. We’ll still have activities at the previous Parks Department Building on Hartzell Street until the back end and fitness areas of the new building are finished (next spring). The Community Center will house New Haven’s Parks Department offices, have community meeting areas, kitchen facilities, classrooms, a dedicated Senior Center, and a full fitness area with the latest in high tech workout equipment. We hope to have the rest of the construction to the front of the building and fitness areas up and running before Spring. The land behind the building will feature a football/soccer field, and in the near future – basketball courts, a playground, and sand volleyball courts. It’s going to be an amazing asset for New Haven.
New Trash Ordinance Passed
Because of all the complaints, the New Haven City Council has passed a revision to New Haven’s Solid Waste Collection ordinance. One of the changes involves trash can placement. All garbage and recycling containers must be stored either inside the garage or on the side of the house at a minimum of four (4) feet behind the front of the house when not placed for collection. The city receives a lot of complaints about trash cans sitting in front of homes. We all want our additions to look great. Hopefully this will encourage people to respect their neighbors and keep their containers at least somewhat hidden.
Also, garbage and recycling containers may be set out no earlier than 4:00 p.m. on the day preceding collection and need to be removed no later than 6:00 a.m. on the day following collection.
Whew, lots of information, but that’s just scratching the surface. Watch for more news on the Community Center, the relocation of the New Haven Chamber of Commerce into our historic “1913” City Hall on Broadway, and more exciting stuff. If you haven’t done this already, please watch our new video – we’re really proud of it. https://youtu.be/2l0pe2GYt8k
Till next time,