The first water works was established in 1866, which consisted of several storage cisterns, which were barely adequate to supply water to city residents. The city received financial assistance from the county to build the system where windmills pumped the water up the incline from the natural water table south of Water Street (now Brown Street) and Washington Street. In 1884, Don A. Sayler, owner of a local paper mill, was granted a franchise with several other business owners, to establish a water works in town. In 1885, after considerable litigation, the city won an appeal before the state Supreme Court which allowed it another contract with Sayler and Company in 1885. The contract gave the city the rights to purchase the pumping station after 15 years; however, because of the city's then current debt, the purchase didn't materialize until 1926.
In 1992, the water works constructed its 3rd water treatment plant just east of the original water treatment plant off of Calumet Avenue and Wesley Road. Construction included a 2.0 MG ground storage tank.
COMBINATION OF WATER AND SEWER
In January of 2004, Mayor Jon Costas put into place a new organizational structure for the City of Valparaiso in order to streamline City government. This new structure included integrating the Department of Water Works and the Water Reclamation Department into one (1) City wide utility.
REASONS FOR COMBINING
There were many reasons for combining both municipal utilities and some of those reasons are as follows:
- Both organizations are customer service driven.
- Each utility serves virtually the same residential, business and industrial user accounts.
- Both are deeply committed to the environment.
- The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) greatly regulate both utilities.
- The types of vehicle and process equipment used by both utilities are similar.
The combining of similar functions, such as vehicle maintenance and field services, would provide an economic benefit to both utilities.On April 1, 2004, this new City utility organization came into existence after the Utilities Director assumed directorship over both the Department of Water Works and the Water Reclamation Department. The new combined utility organization is now known as the Valparaiso City Utilities. The City of Valparaiso's Stormwater Management Program or Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Program was added to the Utility's responsibilities in 2009.
Today, the Valparaiso City Utilities is governed by five (5) member Valparaiso City Utility Board of Directors and encompasses drinking water treatment and distribution, wastewater collection and treatment and storm water collection.
The utility has an operating budget of $11.68 million for fiscal year 2010 and a capital improvement plan for fiscal years 2010 thru 2014 of $17.4 million. Valparaiso City Utilities is currently comprised of sixty-nine (69) employees working in Administration, Customer Service, Finance, Drinking Water Treatment, Water Distribution/Field Services, Water Reclamation Treatment, Wastewater Collection/Field Services and Storm water.
The utility serves a population of approximately 35,000 located in adjacent to the City of Valparaiso.