Fix Proposed for Jail Sewage Problem

Starke County Justice CenterThe Starke County Commissioners want one more price quote before authorizing an upgrade to the sewer screen at the jail. It should keep commissary trash inmates are flushing down the toilets from getting into the Knox sewer system.

Jail Maintenance Director Tony Mildice says one vendor has quoted $78,000, while DLZ, the engineering firm that oversaw the jail design and construction gave them a price of $500,000.

County attorney Marty Lucas says the project does not require sealed bids but a third documented quote is needed.

The new system is designed to compress trash that gets into the lines and put it into a bag, which will then be disposed of when it is full. Mildice says Porter County has a larger version of the system at their jail and it works well.

A roof will need to be added over the system, and a heating blanket will need to be placed to keep it from freezing. Mildice says a carport type of structure will work and adds the county can install it themselves.

Auditor Kay Chaffins says the project can be paid for from the dedicated jail county economic development income tax fund if the vendor will accept monthly payments.

The commissioners anticipate final action on the proposed solution next month.

Knox Wastewater Superintendent Kelly Clemons says the city has had problems with trash getting into the sewer lines since the new jail east of the city opened last summer. The city is prepared to levy fines against the county should the problem continue.