Chesterton Tribune

 

 

2013 'one of most important years' in Utility's recent history

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By KEVIN NEVERS

Chesterton Utility Service Board President Larry Brandt believes that 2013 will be remembered as a watershed year.

At the Service Board’s meeting Monday night, Brandt, reading a prepared statement, called 2013 “one of the most important years in recent history.”

The highlights:

*The “most significant event” was, at long last, the fruition of the federally mandated long term control plan (LTCP) to reduce sewage bypasses into the Little Calumet River. “The process started in 2004 and our final plan was approved by (the Indiana Department of Environmental Management) earlier this year,” Brandt said. “The engineering was completed, invitations to bid sent out, contracts awarded, and construction begun.”

*The first two phases of the LTCP have been financed through the State Revolving Fund, Brandt noted, a strategy which will “yield a savings of $2.7 million” in interest payments over the life of the bonds. And, he added, “included in the financing of the LTCP was a 6-percent rate increase implemented in 2013,” what he characterized as a “very favorable rate impact for a project of this magnitude.”

*Also in 2013, the Utility was “extremely fortunate” in hiring Terry Atherton as its superintendent. Atherton previously served as director of operations for the Northwest Indiana district of Indiana-American Water Company and accrued utility experience as well working for the City of Fort Wayne. That background is “already reaping significant benefits” for the Utility, Brandt said.

*Brandt also cited the substantial completion of the Ind. 49 utility corridor project, “another stepping stone in the strategic economic development of Chesterton and the county.” Brandt offered “kudos to the Town Council for making it happen” and to the Porter County Council for its partnership.

LTCP

In related business, Mark Nye of DLZ reported on progress made on the lynch pin of the LTCP--a 1.2-million gallon tank in which wastewater will be temporarily stored during heavy rain events--since the groundbreaking of Phase II in November.

Nye said that the general contractor, Gariup Construction Company of Gary, is setting rebar right now and that the bottom of the tank could be poured as soon as this week.

“Things are coming along quite nicely,” Nye said.

Found in the Sewer

Meanwhile, Atherton said that a crew jetting the sewer line along Broadway between 19th Street and Jackson Blvd. found “two large pieces of clay tile” in the line.

A follow-up will be conducted to determine whether “there are any problems with the pipe further upstream,” he told the Service Board but added that the town’s sanitary sewer system is more than 80 years old and in places is still comprised of old clay tile pipe, with a life expectancy of 50 to 60 years.

“We’re on borrowed time in a great deal of our system,” Atherton warned the Service Board. “It’s one of those things we have to get used to living with and dealing with.”

November in Review

In November, Chesterton used 38.30 percent of its 3,668,000 gallon per day (gpd) allotment at the wastewater treatment plant; Porter, 46.35 percent of its 851,000 gpd allotment; the Indian Boundary Conservancy District, 58.41 percent of its 81,000 gpd allotment; and the plant as a whole, 40.78 percent of its capacity.

November was a wet month, with 4.27 inches of rain, but there were no bypasses. Brandt took a moment to praise the Town of Porter for its ongoing sewer projects, which have gone far in increasing the system’s integrity against the infiltration of groundwater and stormwater.

Also in November, the Utility ran a surplus of $221,826.40 and in the year-to-date is running a surplus of $160,639.27.

Utility Helps the Street Department

Member--and Street Commissioner--John Schnadenberg took a moment at the end of the meeting to thank Utility employees for helping with the plow effort during last weekend’s snow storm.

 

Posted 12/18/2013