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2023 A Record Year for City Utilities

For immediate release: December 29, 2023

City UtilitiesFort Wayne, Ind. – Mostly unseen, typically ignored and usually underground, City Utilities’ “hidden assets” received a record $135 million in investments in 2023. Those dollars replaced aging infrastructure, increased capacity in water and sewer, and developed methods to protect the environment and save money. 2023 was a massive work year; and looking forward, the utility anticipates comparable investments in 2024.

“City Utilities continues to perform critical functions that help our community grow and succeed. The commitment to residents, neighborhoods and businesses is evident through meaningful improvement projects to enhance our water, sewer and stormwater systems,” said Mayor Tom Henry. “The work being led by City Utilities helps position Fort Wayne for current and future success while protecting the environment and ensuring that vital services are meeting the needs of the public.”

Improvements to strengthen neighborhoods, protect the environment and support economic development advanced in 2023. Here are some of highlights of the dozens of dozens of project completed this year.

The water utility completed the construction of the White Oak Tank (water tower) that stands 175 feet in the air. The 500,000-gallon tank serves more than 72 thousand homes, businesses, schools and churches in the central pressure zone, supplying additional water during peak usage.

Replacing nine miles of aging water mains moved forward in several neighborhoods, including Forest Park, Glenwood Park, Northside and Wildwood Park. Amplifying this work, aggressive outreach for our program to help homeowners replace their lead service lines reached thousands of homes.

With the completion of the Colonial Heritage wetlands, our stormwater team wrapped up the final phase of the Hessen Cassel Road projects that will improve drainage for 13 neighborhoods along the corridor. Other stormwater improvements came to Decatur Road, along with the first phase of the Pierson Drain near Reed Road.

Work to connect neighborhoods to our Three Rivers Protection and Overflow Reduction Tunnel (3RPORT) moved forward with the completion of consolidation sewers on Superior Street, under the St. Marys River, at Brown Street, Camp Allen Drive and Thieme Drive. Additionally, progress continued on the construction work at the pump shaft to remove flow from the 3RPORT and send it for treatment at the Water Pollution Control Plant.

2023 saw the start of the construction of floating solar panels at our wet weather ponds. The solar panels will become part of a microgrid network that includes the panels, battery storage, captured methane gas and natural gas to generate energy and supply power to the Pollution Control and Water Filtration Plants. The system will reduce costs, supply backup power during storm-related emergencies, and protect the environment by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and the carbon footprint of the water and sewer facilities by nearly 20 percent.

2024 in Brief

2024 will see an investment of $134.8 million for water, sewer, storm and system improvements. Here’s a brief look at a few projects planned for the new year.

  • As we enter year 17 of the 18-year Long-Term Control Plan, tunnel work focuses on the final three neighborhood sewer connection projects. The work will connect the neighborhoods of Indian Village, Woodhurst and Hartman Road to the tunnel.
  • The replacement of aging water pipes will continue with work to serve neighborhoods along Bluffton Road and Lima Road.
  • Stormwater drainage improvements will occur along McKinnie Avenue, the Langford Oaks Neighborhood and Phase II of the Peirson Drain project.

Like 2023, the new year will see City Utilities continue efforts to improve our delivery and collection systems, protect the environment and support public health and safety.

2023 Awards

  • Best Tasting Water in Indiana:  Second consecutive year and the third in the past five years. The Alliance of Indiana Rural Water.
  • Sustainable Water Utility Management:  National awards recognized City Utilities microgrid solar panels project and the grassroots partnership with Friends of the Rivers and the Clean Drains Fort Wayne: Be River SmART campaign. The Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA).
  • Laboratory Excellence Award: Awarded to Water Pollution Control Plant for quality data management — 21 years in a row. Indiana Water Environment Association (IWEA).
  • Safety Excellence Award: Award to Water Pollution Control Plant. Indiana Water Environment Association (IWEA).
  • Gold Award for Peak Performance: Presented to Water Pollution Control Plant. National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA).

Top Ops (Operations) Quiz-Bowl Winner: Three Rivers Filtration Plant team members Sarah Block and Brandy Lampkins won the North American Top Ops challenge. The duo answered questions about distribution, maintenance, the laboratory, science, water treatment processes and safety. American Water Works Association (AWWA) annual conference.