Grants to ease flooding issues in Knox, NJ

KNOX — At the last city council meeting for 2010, Mayor Rick Chambers announced that the city was approved for an $837,095 storm water grant to make improvements on the way the city’s Wastewater Treatment facility deals with storm water. This project is supposed to benefit 195 homes.
Nathan Origer from KIRPC appeared before the council earlier in the year to explain the application for a storm water grant. This was the second round of grants available for those areas across Indiana affected by the 2008 and 2009 floods. This grant would include tiles, ditches and new construction. Origer recommended a 20 percent match of the $1 million for the grant. There was only a 20 percent chance that the city would be awarded this grant.
Even though the chances that the city had of obtaining this grant were very low, Chambers strongly encouraged the council to accept the match last spring because the project would benefit the city so much.
Spring rainfalls caused a tremendous amount of extra work for the city’s Wastewater Treatment Facility. The facility pumped nearly one million gallons of water in one day last spring. The normal pumping is around 400,000 gallons on any regular day. Most of the extra storm water came from the downtown area. The sewers in the area around downtown Knox are not separated from the sanitary sewers. Diverting some of the storm water would allow the Wastewater Treatment facility to operate normally. The area affected by the grant includes Prettyman Street John Street, Portland Street and several others. According to Van Janovic of Territorial Engineering, some of the streets may need to be torn up.
“Those streets have been a problem over the years; when you have standing water, the roads crumble. There are also some basement flooding issues in that area,” said Chambers. “There are standing water problems all over Portland St.”
This project will take care of the worst areas affected by flooding.
“It’s a lot of money; it’s going to fix some problems. I’d much rather be spending money on the wastewater plant but we got turned down for a grant on that project. We’re never going to have grant money available again to fix storm water problems. This is a real bonus for us,” said Chambers.
The council has already approved a match of $166,000.
Knox and North Judson are among 13 Hoosier communities receiving the grants, Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman announced.
Skillman said the grants, totaling $10,876,512, are funded by an appropriation for disaster recovery efforts from the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.
North Judson will receive $736,553.
"These communities sustained extensive damage during flooding in 2008, and completing these storm water projects will prevent a similar setback in the future," Skillman said. "Adequate storm water drainage systems protect businesses and residents, and prevent costly repairs and clean up costs which can devastate small communities."
The city will also be looking into exactly what a new state law that prohibits waste removal companies from picking up electronic items placed in the trash means for residents of the city. This new law went into effect on New Year’s Day and bans televisions, computers and certain other electronic items from being picked up during regular waste removal and bans them from being put into landfills.
“The sad thing is when they (the state) do stuff like this, this is what you see in ditches six months from now,’ said Councilman Greg Matt.
The city will also try to find out when, where and how these electronic items can be removed.
Chambers also said that since the sewer department has received their new snow plow, the street department got their old truck back. They are using the new plow and the old truck for snow removal, which means the city is not using their back hoe for snow removal. This is saving the city some money.
“It’s been a big bonus having that snow plow,” said Chambers.
Chambers will make his official department and board appointments for 2011 at the next council meeting, on Jan. 11.