Officials seek grant to replace sewer lines downtown

GREENFIELD — More than 8,500 feet of cracked and leaky sewer lines will be replaced if the city of Greenfield lands a $500,000 grant for the project, officials said.

The project would rehabilitate sewer lines south of U.S. 40 from Osage to Tague streets between State Road 9 and Noble Street. Sewers in the area were installed in the 1930s, making them some 85 years old or older, Judy Cleland of Cleland Environmental Engineering told city officials recently.

Sewers typically work efficiently for about 50 years before they need to be reconstructed or replaced, she said.

While some rehabilitation to sewer lines in the area has been completed over the years, the pipes have cracks and leaks that can cause sewer issues if not addressed, officials said.

The lines in the area still function properly, Cleland said, but they’re continually deteriorating. The project would extend their life by about 50 years, she said.

City officials are vying for a $500,000 grant through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs’ Wastewater Drinking Water Program that would help pay for the wastewater project. If chosen for the grant, city officials will contribute $125,000 (20 percent of the project’s cost) to the work.

The Greenfield City Council recently approved the local match — which would come from wastewater depreciation funds — and the city’s application, which is due Feb. 9, grant administrator Mike Kleinpeter said.

The city already has completed many of the steps required for applying, including conducting an income survey of homes in the area.

The grant program is administered by OCRA to assist Indiana communities struggling with inadequate water supply or failing wastewater treatment systems, especially those in rural and low-income areas. The program is funded by Federal Community Development Block Grant dollars.

The proposal includes rehabilitation of the pipes that connect homes in the area to the main sewer system.

Details about when the project would start have not been released, but city officials will learn whether they’ve been selected for the grant in early April, Kleinpeter said.

The grant process is competitive, he said. But city officials feel confident their application will be selected based off projects chosen for the award in the past.

Once construction begins, disruption to traffic and homeowners in the area shouldn’t be significant, Cleland said.

Before any work begins, homeowners will be notified, and they might be asked to limit their water usage. At most, disruption would last a single business day, she said.

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or