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Audit boosts mayor’s Aqua Indiana plan

How much it is going to cost remains an important question for Mayor Tom Henry’s administration. But the release of the second part of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission’s audit report on Aqua Indiana is another piece of evidence indicating Henry is right to look into taking over the utility’s southwest water service.

The report released Nov. 30 said Aqua Indiana needs to allow more connections to the city of Fort Wayne’s water supply to ensure public safety and the availability of water for fire protection.

The audit was ordered after Aqua Indiana was unable to meet residents’ needs during this summer’s drought, and Fort Wayne City Utilities had to provide emergency relief to about 1,200 Aqua Indiana customers.

City Utilities and Aqua Indiana have several connection locations, but because the two utilities use different disinfection methods, the waters cannot be mixed. The report also said Aqua Indiana needs to either change its disinfection methods or allow more areas to be isolated so it can make more connections to City Utilities in case of future emergencies.

City Utilities officials made the same recommendation to Aqua officials this summer with no success.

Aqua Indiana has until May 1 to adopt a solution to the fire protection risks caused by the possibility of low water pressure. The company also has until Oct. 1 to submit a new master plan to state regulators.

“This is unacceptable and poses a concern for our agency,” IURC Chairman James Atterholt wrote in a letter to Aqua Indiana President Tom Bruns.

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