Chesterton Tribune



Stormwater pipe fails; sinkhole on 23rd Street

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Chesterton Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg was planning to check out a report today of a subsided sidewalk on 23rd Street and Washington Ave.

But events in the form of Saturday’s torrential rain overtook him, when a segment of the sidewalk collapsed into a churning sinkhole of muddy water.

Subsequent investigation indicates that the 36-inch PVC stormwater pipe which runs beneath the sidewalk along 23rd Street from Texas Street north to the Peterson Ditch failed at a seam, allowing sediment and dirt to begin washing away and undermining the sidewalk.

The real problem, though, isn’t the loss of the sidewalk so much as the fact that the 36-inch pipe drains the runoff from Parkview Place and half of Western Acres. Texas Street, Schnadenberg said, was under six inches of water on Saturday and the detention pond serving Parkview Place is still brimming.

Crews began bypass-pumping out the sinkhole after the storm--sending the water to the next manhole down, 300 feet to the north by Eugene Street--pumped all day Sunday, and finally were given a break at 2 p.m. Monday. Pumping resumed today and Town Engineer Mark O’Dell expects it to continue for at least the next couple of days.

How much rain fell on Saturday? The real question isn’t how much but how fast: 1.97 inches were recorded at the wastewater treatment plant in the six hours between 5:30 and 11:30 p.m. But most of the rain fell in two short timeframes: 5:30 to 6 p.m.; and 9 to 9:20 p.m., Utility Superintendent Dave Ryan told the Chesterton Tribune.

There were no overflows of wastewater into the Little Calumet River, thanks to the good services provided by the 1.2-million storage basin at the plant. Half of that basin’s capacity--550,000 gallons’ worth--was put to use between 6:30 p.m. and 12 a.m., until wastewater treatment operations were able to start catching up.

For a brief period on Saturday nearly a mile of Broadway was submerged. “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Broadway flood all the way from 19th Street to 11th Street,” Schnadenberg said. “Most of the drains in town are not capable of handling that much water. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes for the drains to catch up. As far as I know the rest of the town is back to normal today. We’ve had some complaints but generally it’s just a matter of letting the drains do their job.”

Schnadenberg did encourage folks in the subdivisions to be vigilant when it comes to storm drains. If you see one choked with brush or debris, clean it out. “We can’t get to every storm drain in town,” Schnadenberg noted.

For the record, total rain in May so far: 5.66 inches.


Posted 4/26/2020




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