IDEM, COLUMBIA CITY: Agreement on 2-year postponement

COLUMBIA CITY — The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) and the City of Columbia City have agreed to postpone the city’s next phase of the Long Term Control Plan. The city received a letter from IDEM last week, which postponed Phase 2B for two years past its scheduled date. The original plan called for design to begin in 2015 with construction to take place in 2017. In May, city officials began working with IDEM to request the new timeline. “It was a no-brainer,” said Jeff Walker, Community Development Director for the city. “We knew the citizens were going to be hit with huge rate increases if we didn’t act.” With the new timetable, design will take place in 2017 and construction in 2019. “This is a huge victory for our rate payers” said Mayor Ryan Daniel. “We have expressed our thanks to IDEM for their flexibility and willingness to help our community.” Reasons cited for the agreed postponement include financial overruns in the current Phase 2A, as well as the project running a year past the approved timeline for construction. “Postponing the timeline will be dollars saved for our residents,” said Daniel. “With the next phase of the federally-mandated plan costing somewhere between $7 and $10 million dollars, our backs would have been against the wall.” Phase 2B of the Long Term Control Plan will include constructing small treatment facilities and increasing sewer piping.