Many of the older
neighborhoods in the Town of Chesterton remain unserved by separate
stormwater sewer systems.
Back in the day, a
combined sewer--for the disposal of stormwater and wastewater alike--was the
preferred solution to all water problems but those were unsatisfactory then,
because they dumped wastewater directly into streams and ponds and rivers,
and they remain unsatisfactory now, because they have a way of flooding
wastewater treatment plants during heavy rain events.
So when the
resident of a neighborhood developed half a century ago or more takes a
drainage complaint to the Stormwater Management Board, the range of feasible
solutions may be limited
Two cases in point:
the 100 block of Washington Ave. and the 2200 block of Lincoln Ave., where
runoff tends to pool at the foot of driveways for a few days after a rain.
Last July, Dave
Krieter of Washington Ave. sought a remedy for what he said was pooling
severe enough to force him to get in his car and drive the 15 feet to his
mailbox. Town Engineer Mark O’Dell, directed by the board to review the
problem, noted at the time that any relic inlet in the neighborhood is part
of an old combined stormwater/sanitary system and adding a new connection to
it would be illegal.
Also illegal: the
installation of a dry well.
But installing a
brand-new separate stormwater sewer line would entail the construction of
inlets, manholes, and 1,200 feet of pipe to drain the neighborhood into the
Pope O’Connor Ditch: a project which O’Dell estimated would have a
“cost-prohibitive price-tag” in excess of $250,000.
So when Krieter
approached Town Council Member Jim Ton, R-1st, late in December, again
seeking relief, O’Dell made these suggestions in an e-mail of his own, which
he shared with the Stormwater Management Board at its meeting Monday night.
re-grade the 10 feet of town right-of-way in his front yard and the 15 feet
along his side yard “into a shallow swale (as it was before the house was
built on the property) for the water to be detained in until it can permeate
into the surrounding soil”; or Krieter could install, also in the
right-of-way, a French drain to collect and hold runoff.
“All of the newly
built homes on Washington Ave. were approved for building permits with no
drainage swales along the front and side yards, as this was a previously
platted subdivision with no infrastructure improvements,” O’Dell added. “All
of the stormwater from these properties contributes to the problem. . . .
This can be reduced by capturing the stormwater runoff and distributing it
to your side yard to permeate into the ground.”
The other case in
point: a duplex in the 2200 block of Lincoln Ave., owned by Virginia
Kottaridis, who told the board Monday night that only four years ago there
was no pooling problem. Now there is. Can the town help?
O’Dell said that he
and Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg have driven the neighborhood and
at the moment really have no idea why runoff has begun to pool after rains
when only a few years ago it didn’t. Possibly groundwater levels have risen.
In any case, O’Dell observed, “I’ll have a better chance of figuring out
what the problem is in the spring.”
Still, no matter
what’s causing the pooling, solutions in the 2200 block of Lincoln Ave. are
as limited as they are in the 100 block of Washington Ave. There are no
storm sewers here, O’Dell said, “there’s nowhere for the water to go,” and
it would cost something on the order of $4 million to build a system to
drain the area.
bet may also be a French drain with a layer of stone added to keep the area
from turning into a mudhole, O’Dell said. “But this spring we’ll look at
what additional options we might have.”
In other business,
O’Dell reported that work has begun on the sanitary sewer infrastructure at
Easton Park, the 346-lot single-family subdivision under development at the
terminus of East Porter Ave., east of 250E.
For President Tom
Kopko the big question was this: will the installation of the sewer main
force the closure of East Porter Ave.?
It will not, O’Dell
said. The main for the most part will be installed along the side of the
road. On the other hand, temporary lane restrictions are likely from time to
time, with a flagger on hand to direct traffic.
reported that the Stormwater Utility finished the year in the black, with a
surplus of $17,606, compared to an originally projected surplus of $1,250.
* Total revenue in
2015: $462,986, marginally higher--by less than 1 percent--than the
projected revenue of $459,300.
* Total expenses:
$390,130, a little lower--by around 3 percent--than the projected expenses
The board voted 3-0
to re-elect Kopko to the presidency and Member Al Pisarski to the
The board also
voted 3-0 to re-schedule next month’s meeting from 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb.
15--Presidents’ Day, a municipal holiday--to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16.