Carmel considering $16M for wastewater improvement projects


The Carmel City Council is considering $16 million in revenue bonds to fund improvements to the wastewater plant, which is nearing capacity, and other projects.

Carmel Utilities Director John Duffy told the city council at its March 2 meeting that the wastewater plant has capacity to treat 12 million gallons a day and is nearing the 11 million gallon mark per day. Approximately $13 million would be allocated for the plant expansion.

Another $1.3 million would put the infrastructure in place to reduce the level of phosphorus in Carmel’s water. The state is requiring treatment plants to lower phosphorus levels to 1 milligram per liter by Dec. 31, 2021. Currently, Carmel lowers the phosphorus level to 2.5 milligrams per liter. Wastewater typically arrives at the plant with phosphorus levels of 4.5 milligrams per liter.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, phosphorus is essential for plant life but can lead to increased algae and reduced oxygen in bodies of water, creating “dead zones” where fish can’t survive.

Remaining bond funds would be used to repair and replace aging sewer infrastructure in the city and install solar panels near the White River between 96th and 106th streets.

The bonds will be repaid with funds collected from monthly sanitary sewer bills. The projects are not expected to affect the property tax or sewer rate.

The council’s finance committee is expected to discuss the bonds at its next meeting, set for 5:30 p.m. March 10.