Structure Will Ensure Water Supply for City During Droughts and Flooding
INDIANAPOLIS – After receiving community input, Citizens Energy Group has selected a location adjacent to the Taggart Riverside Park to construct a rock ramp necessary to ensure continued water supply to its largest water treatment plant during periods of drought and major flooding.
The rock ramp will be located about 500 feet south of the Riverside Park Boat Ramp and will restore a pool necessary to operate Citizens’ White River Water Intake located just north of 30th Street. The Intake is designed to provide water supply to the nearby Central Canal, which is the main source of water for Citizens’ White River Treatment Plant. The White River Plant produces about 55 percent of the drinking water for the Citizens system. The Intake will be used primarily during periods of drought, and if flow to the Central Canal would be disrupted due to a flood or other reason.
A rock ramp is a natural looking structure with large stones arranged in an arch pattern across the river to form an upstream pool. The gradual sloping rock ramp will restore a pool in the White River that was formed in 1889 with the construction of the city’s Emrichsville Dam, which failed in October 2018. The Emrichsville dam location was not chosen for the new rock ramp due to significant design and cost challenges.
Originally proposed for a location north of 30th Street, the Riverside Park location for the rock ramp was selected after conducting extensive community outreach.
“We sought community input on possible locations for the rock ramp through 12 meetings held from November 2019 to February 2020. These meetings included city and state government officials, Riverside community leaders and representatives of environmental groups,” said Jeff Willman, Vice President, Water Operations at Citizens. “During this outreach the community asked Citizens to consider rock ramp locations further south that would restore a larger upstream pool through Riverside Park.
For public safety and environmental reasons, the rock ramp design is favored by several government agencies and interested stakeholder groups compared to low head dams (such as the failed Emrichsville dam).
“Signage upstream of the rock ramp will direct canoers and kayakers to avoid the structure and safely portage via a path located on the east side of the river through the park. In addition, the rock ramp design allows fish to pass upstream and improves water quality for aquatic life compared to the previous low-head dam. This helps ensure a healthy fish population in this area of the river,” explained Willman.
Citizens plans to submit permits for the rock ramp construction to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this fall.
Construction of the rock ramp would occur in the second half of 2021. Disruption to nearby neighborhoods will be minimal throughout construction, which is expected to conclude prior to spring of 2022. Citizens will continue to coordinate with the members of the community prior to the commencement of the project.