Chesterton Tribune



Oakwood Drive resident concerned by high water in wetlands off South 11th Street

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A resident of Oakwood Drive, off South Fifth Street, brought his concerns about high water in the wetlands east and west of South 11th Street to the Chesterton Stormwater Management Board at its meeting Monday night.

Specifically, Bill Laster is concerned that, following the May rains, the wetlands just east of the Peterson Ditch headwaters near 14th Street and Portage Ave.--clogged, he said, with vegetation and beaver debris--are backing up well to the east, trapping water behind South 11th Street and leaving his backyard and those of his neighbors on Oakwood Drive wet.

How wet? “We’ve got wetland plants growing in our backyards now,” Laster said. It’s gotten so bad, he added, that some of the residents along Oakwood Drive and Shannon Drive to the south have re-directed the outfall from their sump pumps into the street, to flow the water away from their yards.

Meanwhile, the culvert under South 11th Street is completely underwater, Laster said, and should the property immediately north of Westchester Intermediate School, between South Fifth and South 11th streets, ever be developed, stormwater runoff “is going to get dumped into the same flowage.”

“I just dread the idea of more water going there,” Laster urged the board.

Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg acknowledged that he hasn’t himself walked the wetlands west of South 11th Street--as Laster did, in waders--but did say that the Street Department doesn’t have the equipment necessary to clear that wetland of congestion. He did say that he and Town Engineer Mark O’Dell can discuss the feasibility of hiring a contractor.

On the other hand, Schnadenberg said, in 30 years he’s never known the culvert west of South 11th Street not to be underwater.

Members took Laster’s comments under advisement.

1050N Ditches

In other business, members by consensus authorized Schnadenberg and Town Engineer Mark O’Dell to scope preliminarily the cost of piping and in-filling the ditches along 1050N from approximately Westwood Lane to Ind. 149.

Schnadenberg told the board that a similar project two years ago--in which the ditches on the north side of West Porter Ave. between 18th and 23rd streets were piped and in-filled--went very well, and that the ditches along 1050N could benefit from a similar improvement.

Schnadenberg noted that in places, especially further west along 1050N, the ditches are three feet or more in depth, deep enough to expose underground utility infrastructure. “If you go off the road, you don’t have a lot of leeway,” he said.

Schnadenberg suggested that the project could be phased and in any case wouldn’t be shovel-ready until at least next year.

May in Review

In May the Stormwater Utility ran a surplus of $7,666 and in the year-to-date is running a surplus of $67,231.



Posted 6/18/2019




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