City works to make St. Joe River cleaner

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City works to make St. Joe River cleaner


FORT WAYNE, Ind. (ADAMS) – City leaders in Fort Wayne are celebrating a milestone: It’s been two years since raw sewage openly flowed into the St. Joseph River. Anne Marie Smrchek with City Utilities said a 2008 agreement with the federal government forced the city to stop regular sewer back-ups into the river. It’s been 23 months since the last back-up. The City says it has spent more than $12 million dollars on improving everything from river quality to sewage back-ups in resident’s homes.

The City released the following (verbatim) regarding the milestone:

“Years of improvement projects are paying off in efforts to protect the St. Joseph River from Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs). 2019 is the year the City’s agreement with the Federal Government to reduce the number of overflows on the St. Joe from 13 times per year to no more than an average of one per year went into effect. But City Utilities completed the protection projects ahead of schedule, which gave us time to tweak and adjust those improvements. The results show great success, we’ve had zero overflows on the St. Jos in the past 23 months.

“I am pleased that our investments and hard work are showing progress in protecting our rivers. This is a tremendous accomplishment as we safeguard this vital river and the neighborhoods nearby. The commitment to being good stewards of the environment and our rivers will ensure that our life-giving resources will be safe and abundant long into the future,” said Mayor Henry.

In 2015, City Utilities completed more than $12 Million several years of projects to protect the St. Joe and nearby neighborhoods. The investment included sewer separation, increased capacity, diversion structures, and green infrastructure. The projects kept 16 million gallons of combined sewage out of the St. Joe and protected nearly 500 homes from basement backups and street flooding.

“The community values our rivers, and that’s evident by the renewed interest to re-connect and look for new opportunities to incorporate our rivers in our daily lives. Our staff is committed to being good stewards of our resources by protecting them and understands that they are vital to our future,” said Kumar Menon, Director of City Utilities.”