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Aqua Indiana to review problems

Independent expert will analyze utility

– Aqua Indiana has agreed to hire an independent, third-party expert to analyze the utility’s recent water pressure problems and response.

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission made the request at an emergency hearing last week.

Chairman Jim Atterholt said he believes a neutral review could restore public confidence in the system.

IURC Spokeswoman Danielle McGrath said the logistics will now be worked out, starting with the commission issuing a request for proposals.

A selection of finalists by the commission will be given to Aqua Indiana to choose the entity conducting the review.

“We think the facts are we have done a good job responding to a difficult summer and a third-party consulting firm will come to the same conclusion,” said Tom Bruns, president of Aqua Indiana. “We are open to someone taking a look.”

He said the cost of the review could reach $25,000 and will be paid for by the utility.

Aqua Indiana serves 12,000 water customers in Allen County and a small portion of Whitley County. Many of those customers live in southwest Fort Wayne.

A number of consumer complaints – including one from Sen. David Long, R-Fort Wayne – have been filed in recent weeks regarding Aqua Indiana’s service during the sustained drought.

Aqua Indiana hit a peak usage rate of 6 million gallons one day in June – something Bruns said the system can handle for a few days but not over a period of weeks or months.

A loss of water pressure in mid-June forced the company to connect more than 1,200 customers to Fort Wayne’s water system, buying about 280,000 gallons of water a day.

Usage has dropped to about 5.6 million gallons a day.

Aqua Indiana also has received state approval to open a new well, adding about half a million gallons a day to the utility’s water supply.

Other connections to the city can be made if the situation worsens.

nkelly@jg.net

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