CROMWELL — Extra water is entering the sewer system somewhere in Cromwell, and it’s causing overflows, especially during heavy rains.

Town board members Jerry Pauley and Bonnie Tevis approved $4,375 to do a first round of smoke tests to identify any sites where water is entering the sewer system. Board member Devon Miller was absent.

Residents will be notified of the exact dates for the smoke tests, which will take place in mid-October in two places, a large area in southern Cromwell and a small area on the north side near the railroad tracks.

Josh Koontz and Matt Rippui of Atsbury Water Technology recommended the smoke tests as part of the town’s ongoing compliance with an agreed order with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

Astbury and DLZ, Cromwell’s engineering firm, will conduct the tests, in which a non-toxic, odorless smoke is put into the sewer and forced upstream. All leaks are then reported and documented for correction. The testing process tales about 1 ½ days.

Casey Erwin of DLZ, the town’s engineering firm, said infiltration and inflow, nicknamed I & I, eats capacity in the sewers. Infiltration and inflow can be caused by such things as downspouts and sump pumps that empty directly into a sewer. Combined sewers that carry both storm and sanitary wastewater can add to the problem.

Erwin displayed a map showing potential sites to be investigated for sources of inflow and infiltration. Red dots marked places where homes likely to have basements or crawl spaces to be checked. Blue circles marked areas where drainage or overflow problems are known to exist.

Erwin proposed the first phase of smoke tests this fall and a second phase in 2020, then reporting progress to IDEM. He advised the town board to correct as many infiltration and inflow problems as possible before starting a demonstration period with IDEM. Videos of the sewers will also help to identify places where water is entering.

The demonstration period is a one-year period in which Cromwell has no permit violations.

In other business, the board granted permission for Marshal Michael Hatfield to work with a young person interested in a career in law enforcement. Hatfield said the candidate would accompany officers on “ride-alongs” and begin the basic training to become a reserve officer. Hatfield said that as a civilian, the candidate would remain in the car for safety during any incident responses.

Clerk-treasurer Kayla Pauley reported that Umbaugh & Associates is revising the utilities rate structure for more accurate billing. The board had asked for the revisions at the August meeting.

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