Lebanon Hot Pond
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Hot Pond Project Timeline
(1) Lebanon Park Director John Messenger first discussed dredging the Hot Pond at a Lebanon City Council meeting on June 10, 2013. One option discussed was to pay Heartland Dredging (a subsidiary of Valenti-Held Group) $107,000 to pump ten feet of "silt" into three bags - the "silt would eventually be left in place as a berm. The second dredging option was to pay city employees $50,000 to build a dam, remove half of the "silt" at a time over a period of two weeks, and have Triangle Asphalt truck the "silt" to the old city landfill on US 52.
(2) The Hot Pond dredging was next discussed by Park Director Messenger at the June 24, 2013, Lebanon City Council meeting. Efforts were underway to obtain additional contractor bids. Council voted unanimously to table the matter.
(3) Following the lead of Lebanon Mayor Huck Lewis and Lebanon Park Director Messenger, the Lebanon City Council on July 8, 2013, approved $70,000 to dredge the Lebanon Hot Pond to a depth of 20 feet. An excavator was to remove the “silt” from the Hot Pond, and Triangle Asphalt was to haul the “silt” to the old city landfill. A fence around the project area was included in the approved cost. The project was to be completed within three weeks. The city chose to manage this excavation and hauling approach in lieu of hiring Heartland Dredging for up to $130,000 – the Heartland Dredging approach involved sucking the “silt” into bags at the sides of the Hot pond, allowing the “silt” to dry, cutting open the bags, and hauling the “silt” away.
(4) After starting the project on August 2, 2013, it was determined that the “silt” being dredged is mostly lime. Lebanon Utilities dumped the lime, which was used to treat water, into the Hot Pond from 1964 to 1975. Lime stirred up by the dredging made its way to Prairie Creek where specialized containment efforts had to be implemented. The mounds of lime sludge left at the side of the Hot Pond totaled 1,059 cubic yards.
(5) John Brand (Butler, Fairman & Seufert President) and Don Bryenton (Cardno ATC Principal Engineer) were awarded a no-bid contract about August 15, 2013, by Mayor Lewis to work with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to complete the Hot Pond project. Jamie Miller (317-232-8731, firstname.lastname@example.org) was identified as the IDEM Permit Manager and Daniela Klesmith was identified as the IDEM Engineering Technical Advisor for the Hot Pond project.
(6) Mayor Lewis and Park Director Messenger revealed at the August 21, 2013, Lebanon Utilities Service Board meeting that about $40,000 had been spent to dredge the lime sludge stockpiled on the ground next to the Hot Pond. They estimated that it would end up costing about $10,000 to contain the lime that was stirred up by the dredging and made its way to Prairie Creek. The perimeter fencing in place around the Hot Pond costs about $800 a month. Mayor Lewis stated that he’s “looking for a partner” to help defray the extra Hot Pond dredging costs. The Lebanon Utilities Service Board did not agree to share in the cost, but signaled they may rubber stamp letting their utility ratepayers share part of the cost overrun after more specific cost details have been obtained.
(7) John Brand (Butler, Fairman & Seufert President) and Don Bryenton (Cardno ATC Principal Engineer) began corresponding with IDEM on September 11, 2013, and met with IDEM on September 27, 2013. Two fundamental concerns were discussed - the composition of the sediment and the amount of the sediment remaining in the Hot Pond. A sediment testing protocol was negotiated with IDEM. Also, IDEM recommended that the city host a November 2013 community information meeting.
(8) John Brand (Butler, Fairman & Seufert President) gave a Hot Pond update at the October 15, 2013, Lebanon City Council meeting. It was recommended that the lime sludge piles not be removed until the sediment testing is completed. Mayor Lewis reported that a third party may help share the Hot Pond project costs.
(9) Cardno ATC collected three samples from the stockpiled lime sludge on October 11, 2013. Cardno ATC reported to Mayor Lewis on November 6, 2013, that the test results for these samples “show that the lime sludge does not have any hazardous waste properties and that metals are not leaching from the sludge. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were not detected in the samples of lime sludge. Two organic compounds that can be found in a variety of common household products were found in one sample, but they are present at low concentrations that are not a concern.” Cardno ATC also submitted a report documenting the test results to IDEM on November 6, 2013.
(10) Cardno ATC subsequently completed 13 Hot Pond test borings and found lime sludge in 6 of the borings. Lime sludge is apparently limited to the south and southeast edges of the Hot Pond, and the thickness of the lime sludge varies from 7.7 feet to 18.7 feet. The estimate of lime sludge remaining in the Hot Pond varies from 10,000 cubic yards to 22,000 cubic yards.
(11) A public meeting was held on November 19, 2013, at the Lebanon Municipal Building. Although Mayor Lewis announced that Lebanon is making arrangements with a hauler permitted by IDEM to soon begin removing the lime sludge stockpiles and spread them on farm land, the lime sludge still remained on the ground adjacent to the Hot Pond until early July 2014. It was also revealed that Lebanon is considering four options to have the Hot Pond project conform with Indiana’s Solid Waste Regulations.
(12) The Lebanon City Council and Lebanon Utility Service Board held a joint meeting on April 28, 2014, at the Lebanon Municipal Building. It was announced what the four Hot Pond options are estimated to cost and that no prior insurance policies have been found that might pay to complete the Hot Pond project. It was also revealed that the city has received a "Notice of Violation" from IDEM regarding the Hot Pond lime sludge which provides there will be no additional excavation at the Hot Pond park without IDEM approval. The city was supposed to submit a Hot Pond closure plan choosing one of the four options to IDEM by March 30, but received an extension until April 30. The city council voted at the April 28 meeting to apply to IDEM for an additional 60-day extension to submit the Hot Pond closure plan. The IDEM Solid Waste Division is regulating the lime sludge next to the Hot Pond as an "open dump." .
(13) Mayor Lewis stated at the April 28, 2014, joint meeting that Merrell Bros., Inc., has been hired to haul away the lime sludge stockpiled next to the Hot Pond "in the next few weeks" and have it applied as fertilizer to farm fields. Merrell Bros., Inc., describes itself as “a nationwide biosolids management company helping municipalities, industries, and agricultural operations successfully manage and recycle biosolids” that is “dedicated to environmentally sound, agriculturally oriented, State and Federally approved methods of biosolids management.” It was indicated that the estimated cost to haul away the lime sludge, which IDEM will not allow to be put back in the Hot Pond, is $25,000.
(14) Mayor Lewis also revealed at the April 28, 2014, joint meeting that SePRO, headquartered in Carmel, had also been hired to help develop additional Hot Pond options. It is not known if SePRO actually provided any services to the city.
(15) Park Director Messenger reported at the June 9, 2014, Lebanon Board of Works meeting that Merrell Brothers had begun hauling away the lime sludge piled next to the Hot Pond.
(16) The Hot Pond park was reopened July 2014 with no wading, swimming, and fishing allowed pending final decisions regarding the Hot Pond project. The park was closed for 11 months.
(17) The Lebanon City Council and Lebanon Utility Service Board held another joint meeting on September 8, 2014. The two Hot Pond Project Options listed below, which will add even more to the total cost of the Hot Pond project, were identified for the future of the Hot Pond. It was reported that IDEM has identified the lime sludge as a "classified waste" and set an October 1, 2014, deadline for the city to submit a plan to deal with the problem.
Hot Pond Project Options
Butler, Fairman & Seufert and Cardno ATC have identified the two options listed next for the Hot Pond project.
Option #1. Water will be removed from the Hot Pond – plans call for “clear” water to be pumped to Prairie Creek and lime-contaminated water to be pumped to the Lebanon Wastewater Treatment Plant. Soil will be trucked in to cover the remaining lime sludge in the Hot Pond and construct a vegetated cover. A deed restriction would be recorded where no excavation is allowed on the site without approval from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). Cost estimates range from $475,000 to $525,000. The city park will remain open, but the pond will be eliminated.
Option #2. This option, which is estimated to cost from $273,890 to $313,406, leaves the pond in place. Lebanon Mayor Huck Lewis appears to disagree with the written conclusion of the city’s Hot Pond project consultant (Butler, Fairman and Seufert) that states, “In order to alleviate concerns about potential human contact with the lime sludge, no fishing and no swimming signs would be required to be placed around the pond and a 5-foot wide buffer of riprap would be placed on the pond’s shore at the water line to discourage anyone from entering the pond.” Option #2 has the following three components: (a) IDEM-required testing, (b) additional pond dredging, and (c) riprap buffer. Information about these three components is listed next.
(a) IDEM-Required Testing. The IDEM Solid Waste Permits Section has expressed concerns about the toxicity of the lime sludge within the Hot Pond, the effect of the lime sludge on the groundwater in the area, and potential human contact with the lime sludge. IDEM has outlined parameters for an analysis of the lime sludge and a groundwater investigation. The ground water would be tested “for pH and the eight RCRA metals due to the potential creation of a zone of complex and variable ground water geochemistry caused by the high pH of the lime leachate.” A one-time collection of ground water samples at four locations evenly distributed around the pond perimeter will determine the need for further testing that might include permanent groundwater monitoring wells. The estimated $10,000 annual costs of groundwater monitoring on a long-term basis of up to 30 years are not included in the cost estimates for Option #2.
(b) Additional Pond Dredging. In order to mitigate the growth of cattails, the shallower portions of the Hot Pond would be dredged to a depth of four feet. The southern half of the pond appears to have sufficient depth and would not require additional dredging. The dredged lime sludge would be stockpiled on site and naturally dewatered before being hauled away for proper disposal.
(c) Riprap Buffer. A 5-foot wide riprap buffer about two feet thick would be placed on the pond’s shore at the water line. A geotextile fabric would be placed underneath the riprap.
The Hot Pond is a useless amenity that creates a needless liability hazard if no fishing is allowed and the annual fishing rodeo cannot be held. The Hot Pond takes up so much room that use of the park for such activities as Frisbee throwing and touch football games is significantly hindered. If fishing will not be allowed in the Hot Pond, then the city should empty the pond and provide a vegetation cover as outlined in Option #1 to maximize the potential uses of the park for various recreational purposes.
Hot Pond Project Costs Summary
The expenditures listed next have been identified as of September 30, 2014, from newspaper stories and comments made during various public meetings.
$ 10,000 to contain the lime that was stirred up by the dredging and made its way
to Prairie Creek
$ 60,000 to dredge 1,059 cubic yards of lime sludge from the pond, provide perimeter fencing, and pay for BFS and Cardno ATC consulting services
$ 45,438 to pay for Butler, Fairman & Seufert and Cardno ATC consulting services
$111,001 to Merrell Brothers for lime sludge hauling and to pay for Butler, Fairman & Seufert and Cardno ATC consulting services
$226,439 TOTAL COSTS ($170,939 from the City of Lebanon and $55,500 from Lebanon Utilities)
The Lebanon City Council and Lebanon Utility Service Board held a joint meeting on April 28, 2014, at which all the Lebanon City Council members voted unanimously to allocate $100,000 more to the Hot Pond project from the city’s Rainy Day Fund AND Lebanon Utility Service Board members Dan Lamar, James Urban, and Allen Woods voted to divert $100,000 earmarked for water system capital improvements to the Hot Pond project. As of September 30, 2014, the City of Lebanon had spent $55,501 of its allocated $100,000 - and Lebanon Utilities had spent $55,500 of its allocated $100,000.
The $315,438 already spent and allocated on the Hot Pond project is 351% more than the original $70,000 budget.
Hot Pond Project "Outrage"
The Lebanon City Council and Lebanon Utility Service Board held a joint meeting on April 28, 2014, at the Lebanon Municipal Building. Lebanon City Council members Keith Campbell, John Copeland, Mike Kincaid, Lana Kruse, Jeremy Lamar, Steve Large, and Preston Myers voted unanimously to allocate $100,000 more to the Hot Pond project from the city’s Rainy Day Fund. Lebanon Utility Service Board members Dan Lamar, James Urban, and Allen Woods voted to divert $100,000 earmarked for water system capital improvements to the Hot Pond project.
Diverting $100,000 or more from the Lebanon Utilities water system capital improvements budget will make imposing another water rate increase on utility ratepayers more likely. Also, an analysis of Lebanon’s fire hydrants system highlights why it was such a poor public policy decision for the Lebanon Utility Service Board to divert $100,000 earmarked for water system capital improvements to help Lebanon Mayor Huck Lewis pay for his Hot Pond mismanagement.
It is unconscionable for Mayor Lewis to have his friends on the Lebanon Utility Service Board spend any of our utility dollars earmarked for needed water system capital improvements – such as replacing 4-inch water mains that provide minimal fire protection – to help pay for his Hot Pond cost overrun. The mayor has ample city resources available to finish his mismanaged Hot Pod project without increasing any taxes and creating the possibility for utility rate increases.
If you (a) click on “Report Builder: Government Financial and Tax Reports” at https://gateway.ifionline.org/report_builder/, (b) click on “Budgets,” (c)click on “Cash Balance as a Percent of Budget,” (d) select “City’'/Town” for “Unit Type,” (e) select “2014” for “Year,” and (f) click on “View Report,” you will find that Lebanon’s $7,184,000 certified cash balance on June 30, 2013, was 56.3% of the city’s $12,762,558 total certified budget for 2014. As a point of reference, the statewide cash balance average was 39.8%.
If you (a) click on “Report Builder: Government Financial and Tax Reports” at https://gateway.ifionline.org/report_builder/, (b) click on “Annual Financial Report,” (c) click on “Cash and Investments,” (d) select “Boone” for “County,” (e) select “2013” for “Year,” (f) select “City/Town” for “Unit Type,” (g) select “Lebanon Civil City” for “Unit,” and (h) click on “View Report,” you will discover the following city cash balances on December 31, 2013:
$3,806,061 General Fund 101
$ 345,497 Parks Department Fund 204
$ 134,471 Rainy Day Spending Fund 269
$1,569,149 Rainy Day Fund 270
$1,086,988 Food & Beverage Tax Fund 471
$6,942,166 TOTAL AVAILABLE CITY FUNDS ON DECEMBER 31, 2013
Furthermore, it appears the city will maintain the $3.8 million General Fund cash balance and the $1.6 million Rainy Day Fund cash balance in its 2015 budget.
Not only does the city have ample resources to deal with the Hot Pond fiasco without tax and utility rate increases, but it can better plan to use its resources in the future. For example, it can save $1,138,505 in local funds by cancelling the unneeded and wasteful second phase of the Indianapolis Avenue “gateway” project from Hendricks Drive to SR 32 (Spencer Avenue): see http://www.finplaneducation.net/lebanon_indyave_gateway.htm.
Diverting $100,000 or more from the Lebanon Utilities water system capital improvements budget will make imposing another water rate increase on utility ratepayers more likely. Also, the undersized 4-inch water lines throughout the city that provide minimal fire hydrant protection highlight the need to properly spend utility dollars dedicated to water system improvements (and not divert any of these dollars to the Hot Pond project): see http://www.finplaneducation.net/lebanon_fire_hydrants.htm.
While Lebanon Utilities in years past legally dumped the lime in the Hot Pond that helped create today’s dredging problems, Lebanon Utilities took no part in the decision to dredge the Hot Pond. Mayor Lewis is responsible for the poorly taken core samples before the dredging project began, and for continuing the dredging process after the lime was first discovered. Lebanon Utility ratepayers should not be faced with the possibility of a water rate increase to pay for the mayor’s mistakes.
Please ACT Now and contact Mayor Lewis (email@example.com, 765-482-1201) to let him know that you oppose having his friends on the Lebanon Utility Service Board pick up any part of his tab for the Hot Pond dredging project cost overrun. The mayor needs to know that creating the possibility for a water rate increase and misusing funds allocated for water system capital improvements to help finish the Hot Pond project will hinder his 2015 reelection chances.
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This page was last updated on 10/03/14.