On Wednesday, Indiana American Water Company, joined Gary Mayor Jerome Prince, community leaders and project partners at a groundbreaking ceremony to officially kick off a $24.5 million water main replacement project in Gary. The project, which will replace or retire older steel and cast-iron pipe that has experienced numerous breaks, will be constructed along 6th and 7th Avenue from Wabash Avenue to Kentucky Street as well as several north-south streets in the area. The work will retire approximately five miles of water mains from the early 1900s and install nearly 11 miles of new water mains, ranging in size from 8” to 36”, over the next three years. 

The project is being constructed by Rex Construction and design and inspection services for the job are provided by DLZ. 

Indiana American Water also provided an update on progress it has made in removing lead service lines across the state and in northwest Indiana. Indiana American Water was the first water utility in the state to file a lead service line plan following passage of House Enrolled Act 1519 in 2017, which contained, among other things, a process for water utilities to obtain authority to replace customer-owned lead service lines, even through the lines are not owned by the utility. Indiana American Water estimates that there were as many as 55,000 lead service lines in use just a few years ago in its service areas across the state, with about two-thirds of those located in northwest Indiana. 

Prior to World War II, it was not uncommon in some communities for lead to be used for the water service line connection between a house or building and the utility water main. In northwest Indiana, lead service lines were installed in some areas as recently as the early 1970s. Indiana American Water routinely samples for lead in its water and provides corrosion control treatment to mitigate potential threats and continues to be in compliance with state and federal regulations.