Posted Wednesday, January 31, 2024.

Commissioners Provide Update on Andrews Water Proposals

20240130 Andrews Water Public Meeting

Huntington County Commissioner Tom Wall speaks at a public meeting on Wednesday, January 31, 2024, at the County Courthouse.

HUNTINGTON, Ind. – The Huntington County Commissioners’ Office and its partners held a public meeting Tuesday at the County Courthouse to update the community on proposed solutions to ensure the safety of the Town of Andrews’ water supply.

Representatives for the Town of Andrews, City of Huntington, State of Indiana, U.S. Department of Agriculture and engineering firm Lochmueller Group were in attendance.

Tom Wall emphasized that getting safe drinking water to Andrews remains a top goal in his role as a Huntington County Commissioner. The situation also has been named the No. 1 priority for Indiana’s Office of Community and Rural Affairs, he said.

Commissioner Wall described the county’s efforts to find a solution as united. The meeting’s purpose was to remain transparent in informing residents of the proposals that are on the table.

“We are working on many solutions to get this taken care of,” he said.

Fellow Commissioner Rob Miller added, “We are all rowing in the same direction.”

Lochmueller Group was hired to provide a preliminary engineering report. Anthony Goodnight, the firm’s Fort Wayne region manager, explained its findings.

The first scenario would involve regionalizing Andrews’ water system by tying it into the City of Huntington’s water system near the intersection of County Road 200 North and State Road 9. A new 16-inch water main would connect the two communities across a span of 17,350 feet.

A second scenario being explored would see Andrews maintain control of its own water operations while drilling into an aquifer located about a half-mile outside town limits.

In both scenarios, Andrews also needs to address galvanized and lead pipes in its system. While the State of Indiana is pushing communities to identify and replace lead pipes still in use, recent examinations of Andrews’ system found that leaks are leading to as much as a 46 percent water loss.

Both scenarios carry an approximately $30 million estimate of the investment needed to ensure the safety of Andrews’ water. In a long-term outlook comparing the two, the first scenario involving tapping into Huntington’s system could save Andrews at least $1 million in operating costs over 20 years because it would no longer need to run its own water plant, according to Goodnight, the Lochmueller Group manager.

In both cases, replacing old galvanized and lead lines is the most expensive part of the proposed project, carrying an estimated price tag of $23 million.

The USDA’s Rural Utilities Services program and other state and federal services offer loans and grants to help rural communities build, repair and improve public water systems. The County Commissioners also have previously pledged financial assistance to help Andrews.

Huntington Mayor Richard Strick spoke to the city’s partnership with Andrews and Huntington County and acknowledged the challenges they face. Huntington is committed to being a good neighbor and ready to supply clean water if called upon, he said. At the same time, he is looking out for the interests of current city ratepayers to ensure new costs aren’t passed on to them.

Andrews and Huntington County residents who have questions about the proposals and next steps are encouraged to email the Huntington County Commissioners at or call their office at (260) 358-4822.