Here’s an interesting fact: every bit of the sewage which flows to the
Chesterton wastewater treatment plant from north of I-94--including from the
Morningside subdivision--is carried by a 18-inch gravity main 700 feet of
which are actually elevated some 10 to 12 feet over the Little Calumet River
flood plain by a system of supports.
Here’s a more interesting fact: those supports are failing.
Here’s the most interesting fact: the flood plain beneath the aerial gravity
line is a designated wetland, which means that--in order to replace the
supports and protect the environment beneath--a whole slew of permits needs
to be obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The permitting process, including various environmental assessments and
species surveys, has been in the works for the better part of two years.
Meanwhile, as Town Engineer Mark O’Dell reported at the Utility Service
Board’s meeting Monday night, the consulting engineering firm STV Group Inc.
is finishing a plan for a new system of supports. Specifically, 30 screw-in
helical piers will be sunk at a depth of 30 feet at 15 locations along the
Those piers should solve the problem revealed by a geotechnical survey,
which found the soil “extremely poor.” The piers shouldn’t affect the
wetland itself and the work will be done on a temporary structure of “timber
mats” placed on the ground. Some trees will need to be removed--and late
The total estimated cost: between $200,000 and $250,000.
O’Dell told the Chesterton Tribune after the meeting that the
original system of supports was replaced in the early Nineties after it
failed. Now the replacement system is failing too. There is no danger now of
any imminent collapse, he added, but sooner or later if not fixed the line
is going to drop, right into the wetland.
O’Dell added that the aerial component of the main is necessary not to carry
it over the Little Calumet but to maintain the necessary gravity grade over
the length of the line. On the south side of the river the main eventually
enters a manhole and flows the rest of the way to the treatment plant
Meanwhile, Superintendent Terry Atherton reported, a variety of maintenance
work is being done on the collections system.
Both the 15th Street and Eighth Street lines have been jetted and cleaned
and they’re on tap for a relining, Atherton said. Jetting has also been done
in the Rose Hill, Park View, and Golf View subdivisions, with Chestnut Hills
In addition, two manholes and a line have been replaced by contractor R.V.
Sutton Inc. in the alley north of West Porter Ave. between 14th and 15th
streets, Atherton said, while the pump for the Chesterton High School lift
station is being rebuilt after a failure was found in its seal.
Recognized by IDEM
Atherton announced that laboratory personnel have once again been honored
with a certificate of achievement by the Indiana Department of Environmental
Management (IDEM) for its performance in achieving acceptable evaluations
for a host of substances, including E. coli, pH, and total phosphorus.
“Our lab has once again won a certificate,” President Larry Brandt noted. “I
can’t remember a year they haven’t received the recognition from IDEM.”
Atherton also announced that IDEM performed a surprise inspection of the
wastewater treatment plant on July 31 and no issues were found.
Up for Auction
Members voted 4-0 to declare surplus for auction a Hewlett Packard C7780B
36-inch plan printer.
The annual municipal auction has been set for Wednesday, Sept. 25, at the
Street Department at 1490 Broadway. Viewing starts at 6 p.m., bidding at 7
July in Review
In July, Chesterton used 42.55 percent of its 3,668,000 gallon per day (gpd)
allotment at the wastewater treatment plant; Porter, 45.27 percent of its
851,000 gpd allotment; the Indian Boundary Conservancy District, 55.70
percent of its 81,000 gpd allotment; and the plant as a whole, 43.89 percent
of its capacity.
There were no bypasses in July, with only 0.44 inches of precipitation
The Utility’s financials for July were not available.