The Town of Chesterton is seeking more than $25,000 from Indiana-American
Water Company (IAWC), in a lawsuit filed on Nov. 5 in Porter Superior Court.
The suit alleges that IAWC crews, in the course of working on a water line
in 2011, damaged a sanitary sewer main, resulting not only in the expense of
repairing the sewer main but of compensating a homeowner for damage done
when the main backed up into his basement.
Specifically, the town’s suit alleges the following:
•In March 2011, IAWC excavated a stretch of North Calumet Road to repair a
water line located beneath a municipal right-of-way. “The repairs included
placing a trench box into the excavated street, repairing a water line tap,
then backfilling the excavation with gravel.”
•On April 17, 2011, a homeowner in the 400 block of North Calumet Road
reported that a backed up sanitary sewer line was flooding his basement.
•After an investigation, the Chesterton Utility “determined the cause to be
a collapse in the sewer main line located in the right-of-way adjacent to
the repair work performed by IAWC. In particular, the Utility determined
that the sewer main line collapse was caused by the weight of a trench box
utilized by IAWC.”
Count I of the suit alleges negligence on IAWC’s part and seeks $14,822: the
cost of repairing the actual damage to the sewer main.
Count II of the suit sites common law indemnification and seeks an
additional $11,268.95: the cost of repairing damage to the homeowner’s
The suit adds that, on April 18, 2011, an IAWC representative “provided
assurances to the Utility’s superintendent that IAWC would pay for the costs
of repairing the damage to the residential structures.”
The suit also
notes that another homeowner has filed notice of a tort claim against the
town, in connection with damage to his residential structure related to the
sewer main collapse.