The Porter County Highway Department did not obtain proper permits prior to
beginning work on a new bridge over Coffee Creek on 1100N, the Indiana
Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) said.
The Highway Department is now applying to IDEM and the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers for the necessary permits, IDEM spokesman Barry Sneed e-mailed the
Chesterton Tribune on Monday.
Sneed noted that IDEM became aware of the matter after a Department of
Natural Resources conservation officer informed the Highway Department that
its “activities were in violation of Indiana water pollution control laws
IDEM staff investigated and determined that the Highway Department needs to
obtain Section 401 Water Quality Certification from IDEM and a Section 404
Dredge and Fill permit from the U.S. Army Corps, Sneed stated.
Sneed did not specify which of the Highway Department’s activities are in
need of the Sects. 401 and 404 permits, but according to IDEM’s website any
number of jobs do require them: constructing a roadway or bridge in or over
a stream, for example; filling, excavating, or mechanical clearing of a
wetland; stabilizing a streambank; and relocating a stream.
“The Highway Department has been cooperative in responding to this
permitting issue,” Sneed added. “We believe the Army Corps of Engineers has
met with Highway Department personnel and that the Highway Department has
hired a consultant and will be applying for the appropriate approvals.”
Earlier this summer, the Chesterton Utility re-located a sanitary sewer main
which had been fixed to the bridge—just east of the WiseWay Foods and Family
Express—in advance of the Highway Department’s project.