The cities of Gary and Lake Station celebrated the completion of a joint $2.4 million sewer improvement project Thursday that officials said will decrease the threat of residential sewer backups.
U.S. Rep. Peter J. Visclosky, D-Gary, joined Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and Lake Station Mayor Christopher Anderson at the Gary Sanitary District's pumping station at 15th Place and Clay Street to mark the project's completion.
LGS Plumbing Inc., of Crown Point, completed the 4,400-foot Gary section for $1,317,810 and a 2,900-foot section in Lake Station was done under a $1,049,870 contract by Integrated Environmental Solutions Inc., of Gary.
Visclosky said federal funding covered about $2.25 million of the joint project. Gary's share was $408,250, while Lake Station's was $325,000, he said.
Officials hailed the project saying it will reduce leaks, improve flow and reduce shutdowns caused by pipe breaks.
"You are increasing the flow… backups are a health danger and it's improved the value of homes," Visclosky said.
Gary Sanitary District director Dan Vicari said about 12,000 homes in the city's Miller, Aetna and Glen Ryan sections are served by the sewer project.
"We're very thankful for all the organizations that made this happen," said Anderson. "It was in danger of bursting," he said in reference to the old pipe.
"This shows how inter-connected our cities are," Freeman-Wilson said.
Sewage from Lake Station and Gary's east side is moved to the 15th Avenue pumping station, which directs it to the district's treatment plant on the city's northwest side. Besides Gary, the sanitary district handles sewage from Lake Station, Hobart and Merrillville.
Lake Station and Gary also recently completed a paving project on badly worn Clay Street from 15th Avenue to the Little Calumet River. Vicari said the cities received funding from the Indiana Department of Transportation for the paving work.