The City of Warsaw recently received an award for its Beyer Brady Trail Stormwater Quality Project from the Indiana Association for Floodplain and Stormwater Management.

City Engineer James Emans told the Board of Public Works and Safety Friday that the project was tied to the city’s stormwater utility and its Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) compliance.

“We had an erosion problem down by Beyer Farm Trail that was impacting the wetlands, impacting our trail system, and the stormwater utility worked with (Kosciusko Community Hospital) and others to put together a program that would address the erosion concern, but also enhance from an opportunity of water quality,” Emans said.

The end result was a constructed system that includes a mini-amphitheater that can be used as a “training opportunity for bringing students out to work at the wetlands.”

Emans said the utility wanted to let the Board of Works know that it thinks it has come a long way with its MS4 program.

“A few years ago, we really invested heavily in staffing to be compliant with this program. The utility has a couple of staff members in there that are working hard at this. And for me, seeing where the city has come in the last decade or so, this award is a big thing for the city because we went from just being a utility that was trying to play by the rules to starting to set the example of how to do water quality projects,” Emans said.

He said to him, the award means “that we have gotten to that point where not only are we doing it for compliance, but we’re improving our area with water quality.”

Emans said MS4 Coordinator Ryan Workman and his staff really coordinated getting the project off the ground and there were a lot of players involved in it.

“The utility is making strides and being recognized for it,” Emans said.

Mayor Joe Thallemer said the public really needs to understand “these great things that the stormwater utility is doing. Obviously, there’s a lot of things we have to do. This is one that I think we went above and beyond.”

He called the project, which had a ribbon-cutting in October 2018, “marvelous” and “very innovative.”

After presenting the award to the Board of Works, Workman said, “This was pointed to our direction in fall 2016 by Mayor Thallemer. There was actually a ribbon-cutting for educational signage along the Beyer Farm Trail, throughout the wetlands, with the Lilly Center, Parks Department as well as the Soil and Water Conservation District.”

From Thallemer’s directive, Workman said the utility saw an opportunity to do a water quality project where it used multiple facets of what it’s required to do, as well as enhancing the quality of life in the area.

He said they reached out to different community members to see if they wanted to be involved as well, especially since that strip of land belongs to KCH. “We just extended our Parks and Recreation facility and maintained that to a point where we can utilize that for future educational projects or even programs. We’re going to actually add educational signage along the whole strip there, come this fall or hopefully next spring,” Workman said.

Thallemer said it was a project you’d have to see to understand all the work and thought that went into it. He asked Workman to attend Monday’s city council meeting to give the council a brief summary of the project.

“I guess I know it’s not all glamorous in the world of stormwater, but this is a really neat project. Thank you very much,” Thallemer said.