By Audrey Bailey
Zionsville is making plans for its first ever large-scale project to improve the town’s aging sewer system in the Village area.
Stormwater Program Manager Gavin Merriman and Supt. of Street/Stormwater Services Lance Lantz met with members of the Zionsville Village Residents’ Association Dec. 8 to discuss the $300,000 project.
Questions about the area’s stormwater system arose this summer after a heavy rainfall in July led to about 1.2 inches of water accumulating in less than an hour.
“The intensity was incredible. It was something I haven’t seen very often in my life,” Merriman said.
Village resident Ryan McCauley experienced severe flooding during these storms when a 24-inch pipe on the corner of his property overflowed.
“It would flood my driveway and slowly make its way to the rear, and then down the driveway, down the yard, out to the back to the south,” McCauley said. “There was about four feet of water on both sides of my retaining wall, and it was truly a river.”
Merriman said non-comprehensive draining systems, undersized and deteriorating pipes and a lack of drain sewers in certain areas are among the reasons for the recent flooding and increased stream heights.
“The village is very dense. It’s hard to retrofit that area,” he said. “It’s difficult to make those comprehensive draining improvements.”
Phase one of the project looks to improve capacity and alignment at Fourth Street storm sewer, beginning downstream. Construction is anticipated to begin in late summer or early fall of 2016.
“This is the first project of its kind in Zionsville,” Merriman said. “We’re very excited about this project. It’s a huge first step.”
As of now, no plans have yet been implemented for phase two of the project, which would include improving select inlets and lateral connections.