Chesterton Tribune



Utility board picks vendor for Fox Chase Farms pumps, waiting for loan to close

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One more piece in the Fox Chase Farms sewer connection project is now in place.

At is meeting Monday night, the Chesterton Utility Service Board voted unanimously to award the contract for the grinder pumps to Barnes Pressure Systems of Piqua, Ohio.

Barnes’ bid of $164,133 was the low one by a country mile. The only other bidder, Leeps Supply Company Inc. of Merrillville, submitted a price of $393,000.

Grinder pumps are essentially “mini lift stations” designed to force a home’s wastewater, against gravity, into a larger collection system. Each of the 88 homes in the Fox Chase Farms subdivision will be equipped with one.

The scope of the project: extending sewer service--via the Utility’s brand-new lift station located off Ind. 49 south of the Indiana Toll Road--to Fox Chase Farms, whose septic mound system has long been failing. Piggy-backing on that connection will be the Whispering Sands Mobile Home Park, whose package treatment plant is operating at capacity. Both are located in Liberty Township, west of Meridian Road and north of U.S. Highway 6.

From each home in Fox Chase Farms, wastewater will be pumped to an on-site lift station, which will then send it north and east, via a purpose-built sewer main, to the Utility’s new lift station.

It’s a complicated project with a lot of moving parts but the fact that the Indiana Department of Environmental Management specifically wants the Fox Chase Farms mound system replaced seems to have kept everything on track. Right now, the Service Board is waiting to close on a State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan which SRF has signaled its willingness to make at 0-percent interest over 20 years. In addition to the loan, SRF has pledged a $750,000.

Pending closure on the loan, the Service Board has conditionally awarded the project’s general contract to Gatlin Plumbing & Heating Inc. of Griffith, which submitted the lowest of four bids: $1,672,726.

The project’s estimated cost: $2.1 million. That cost will be borne entirely by the Fox Chase Farms and Whispering Sands residents and any other Liberty Township residents who may wish to be connected to the infrastructure.

21st Street Sewer Replacement

In other business, Superintendent Terry Atherton reported that the Utility is ready to go out to bid on the replacement of the 21st Street sewer line between West Porter Ave. and Union Ave.

Bids for that project will be opened at the Service Board’s next meeting, June 15.

The line, installed in 1955, is 60 years old, its corrugated metal is deteriorating, and several of its sections have failed and collapsed over the last few years.

Long Term Control Plan

Meanwhile, work continues to move smoothly on the most important component of the federally mandated long term control plan (LTCP) to reduce sewage overflows into the Little Calumet River: the construction of a 1.2-million gallon storage tank to capture and retain stormwater-infiltrated wastewater during heavy rain events.

The idea is to prevent that flow from entering and swamping the wastewater treatment plant in the first place by diverting it to the tank and holding it there, until the plant has had a chance to catch up.

Gariup Construction Company of Gary is the general contractor on the job, whose contract price of $8,471,800 is being funded through a sewer rate hike of 6 percent which took effect on Jan. 1, 2013.

On Monday, Atherton said that work on the tank and ancillary construction should be completed sometime in June, “probably just in time to capture the first big rain of the year.”

Kudos to Ihler & Company

Members took a moment at the end of the meeting to congratulate collections foreman Jay Ihler and his crew, after Ihler recently made a presentation on their use of iPad supported maintenance programs at the Indiana Geographic Information Council’s annual GIS conference.

The Utility was nominated for recognition by the GIS but lost out to another municipality’s.

“Outstanding,” Member Jim Raffin said.

April in Review

In April, Chesterton used 41.95 percent of its 3,668,000 gallon per day (gpd) allotment of the wastewater treatment plant; Porter, 46.24 percent of its 851,000 gpd allotment; the Indian Boundary Conservancy District (IBCD)--on paper at least--35.67 percent of its 81,000 gpd allotment; and the plant as a whole, 42.63 percent of its capacity.

Atherton did say that the IBCD, which averaged a 58-percent usage over the first three months of the year, was found to have a malfunctioning meter which was giving “low readings.” The meter has been replaced and the IBCD will be sent a bill reconciliation to recover lost revenues.

No bypasses were recorded in April, which saw 2.47 inches of rain.

Last month the Utility ran a deficit of $176,219 and in the year to date is running a deficit of $113,061.20.

In fact, Atherton said, that red ink is mostly temporary and attributable to the $96,191.59 which the Utility has so far spent on engineering services related to the Fox Chase Farms project. That sum exceeds the amount budgeted for engineering through the first four months of the year by fully $79,524.92 and will be reimbursed the Utility when it closes on the SRF loan.



Posted 5/20/2015




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