New water plant still on track for March

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Work continues on Fortville’s new water treatment plant.

Mitchell Kirk | Daily Reporter

FORTVILLE – Town officials continue to expect a new water treatment plant to be substantially completed in a few months as they navigate supply chain challenges.

Construction on Fortville’s new plant started earlier this year near where the current plant is off Church Street near Memorial Park. The project was estimated at $10.7 million, and will replace a plant first built in 1955 that’s nearing the end of its life cycle.

Doug Tischbein of Orleans-based Reynolds Construction, which is leading the project, noted at a Fortville Town Council meeting earlier this week that the new plant’s roof is on and that other work is underway ahead of starting on electrical and piping.

The lead time on the new plant’s generator is 12 months, however, and the current one can’t be repurposed due to the electrical phasing in the current and new plants being different.

Tischbein said the plan is to put an interconnect between the current and new plants so they can be run together until the new generator comes in.

“It just gives us kind of a failsafe in the event that there’s an issue – we lose power – we can still run the old plant on the old generator,” he said. “…This is the way we think is best to still meet the timeline of starting the new plant in March.”

The town council approved a change order for $113,880 to accomplish the plan out of the $189,000 in contingency funds set aside for the project.

Joe Renner, Fortville town manager, said the Indiana Department of Environmental Management won’t allow the new plant to start without having a backup generator.

“So that’s why we’ve got to make sure the old plant is functioning along with the new for a certain time, so we can actually get it up and running,” he said.

Renner added he was concerned about not achieving substantial completion on the new plant ahead of the dry season. In past summers, strains on the current plant have prompted the town to implement an irrigation schedule to conserve water.

Tischbein agreed.

“May could turn into June, it could turn into July,” he said. “It’s just unfortunate that it’s relaxing a little bit on the supply side but it’s still not where it used to be.”

Tischbein added he does not foresee additional change orders for the project at this time.

“March is substantial completion – is what our focus is right now and everybody’s committed to making that happen,” he said.

Another obstacle the project has overcome regards electrical components typically purchased as a package that would’ve been delayed until late May. Purchasing the components separately allowed that delay to be avoided, however.

“Which is good, because that gets us back on schedule for a March startup,” Tischbein said.