Maybe you recently visited the Town of Danville for a first Friday of the month event and checked out your favorite hot rod or classic car at a town square Cruise-in auto show. Or you’ve swung by the timeless Royal Theater and watched the latest movie on the big screen, sweeping you back in time. Perhaps you stopped downtown to grab a sweet treat at Danville Dips. With each visit to Danville, you’ve probably noticed a lot of growth, building, and construction around town. Just maybe you’ve seen a large tank deep in a hole at the north end of Ellis Park. No, that’s not a missile silo. It’s actually a newly finished water storage tank or clearwell at the same location as the future water treatment plant.

The Town of Danville is no stranger to experiencing growth. In 1990 just as I was starting my freshmen year at Danville Community High School, the town’s population was a little over 4,000 people. Today, there are approximately 11,000 people within the Town of Danville. Due to the increasing number of people over those past 32 years, the town had to plan for the growth and take action on expanding town services. The community expanded its fire, police, street maintenance, wastewater, and safe drinking water systems and departments.

Focusing on just the drinking water, the last time the town needed to increase its water supply, water treatment, and storage was in 2003-04. The town drilled additional wells in the existing town aquifer in Ellis Park. A new elevated water tank was erected at the Hendricks Regional Health hospital, and a new water treatment plant was built at the previous water plant location, at the entrance of Ellis Park off Main Street. The treatment plant was designed for an anticipated growth of 20 years, which is typical. We are nearing that 20-year mark, and Danville has experienced a higher rate of growth than anticipated.

This is not something that has jumped up and surprised the town. Planning for the next 20 years and beyond started well over five years ago. In 2017, Banning Engineering was hired by Danville to develop a GIS mapping and asset management system that pinpoints all the distribution system components such as valves, hydrants, and water mains. Not only is this tool vital for operations of the system by the town water department staff, but it is also a great planning tool.

After completing the GIS system, Banning Engineering was hired in 2018 to develop a Drinking Water Master Plan. During the process, a hydraulic study was conducted on the distribution system. The study could not have been done accurately without the GIS mapping system in place. Between the hydraulic study and GIS mapping, we developed a computer model of the system. This system shows the deficiencies of the existing system that need addressed, as well as modeling future growth and what improvements need to be made to continue providing safe drinking water. A hydrogeologic study was also performed to identify potential new water supply wells. Exploratory test drilling occurred during this study. One of the major components of the master plan was to address future population growth within the next 20 years while also looking at an overall geographic area to provide drinking water.

To address the anticipated growth, the main components of the master plan include additional water supply wells, a new water treatment plant, and a finished water storage tank (clearwell) at the plant site. The Town Council adopted the Master Plan in March 2020. Since then, Banning Engineering has been designing new wells, the water treatment plant, and tank.

So, just as the town has done throughout its history, Danville is addressing growth and the town services it provides, which are vital to keeping all its citizens healthy and safe.

As I discussed early in the article, the storage tank in Ellis Park North is currently under construction and will be completed later this summer. The water treatment plant project was recently bid and just awarded last week to the contractor, so stay tuned for more updates as things progress on this project, and click here for some recent drone footage!

– Kent Elliot