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Citizens plans $114M in upgrades for water system

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Citizens Energy Group is planning to shore up its Indianapolis water system with nearly $114 million in upgrades over the next two years.

The improvements are intended to reduce water main breaks, expand sources of supply and improve water treatment plants, the public charitable trust said Thursday.

Among the planned projects are a new groundwater treatment plant near Morse Reservoir; stabilization of the banks of the historic Central Canal; a booster station to improve water pressure on the northwest side; and several large water main replacement projects.

The work will be paid for by a water rate increase recently approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. A Citizens spokesman said Thursday that the average residential customer’s bill would go up about 67 cents per month.

"We have begun to make progress modernizing the water system, but much work remains,” said Carey Lykins, CEO of Citizens Energy Group. “The water distribution system, some of which is more than 100 years old, continues to be plagued by main breaks that not only waste water, but also destroy roads and interrupt service to tens of thousands of customers.”

Citizens bought Indianapolis’ water and wastewater systems in 2011 for $1.9 billion. According to the firm, years of neglect from previous owners have resulted in some 700 water main breaks per year, wasting three billion gallons of water.

Citizens serves about 400,000 customers in the Indianapolis metropolitan area.

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