Aqua Indiana Must Make Connections Plan

FORT WAYNE – The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission issued its report Friday on Aqua Indiana’s performance during this summer’s severe drought, ordering the private utility to make changes to allow connections to the city of Fort Wayne’s water supply.

The two systems can be connected in multiple locations, but because of different treatment methods used, the two waters cannot be mixed. During the summer drought, about 1,200 Aqua Indiana customers were connected to City Utilities water supplies, but not the rest of the approximately 12,000 customers Aqua Indiana serves.

Aqua Indiana’s inability to maintain adequate water pressure during the drought is a major failure, the IURC said.

“While collecting information for the report, the auditor found there to be a potential fire protection risk,” IURC Chairman Jim Atterholt said in a letter to the president of Aqua Indiana. “This is unacceptable and poses a concern for our agency.”

Two weeks ago, Mayor Tom Henry announced the city will attempt to forcibly take over Aqua Indiana through the condemnation process, citing water-pressure and water-quality issues.

Aqua Indiana officials were not immediately available for comment Friday morning, but President Tom Bruns has said the drought was an unexpected, extreme event and that a new well has dramatically increased the water available to customers.

He has also disputed allegations of poor water quality and pressure.

Aqua Indiana has until Oct. 1 to complete and submit a new master plan to the IURC. The utility must also identify and implement a solution by May 1 to address fire protection risks related to interconnection.

For more on this story, visit www.journalgazette.net later today or see Saturday’s print edition of The Journal Gazette.