Chesterton Tribune



Cost sharing program taking shape for culvert replacement in Porter County

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The Porter County Development and Stormwater Management Department expects to soon have its proposal for a cost-share program with property owners for culverts in need of replacement.

At Monday’s meeting of the County’s Stormwater Advisory Board, Stormwater Engineer Mike Novotney presented a draft of the proposal, seeking input before the next meeting. The measure will require adoption by the Stormwater Management Board -- comprised of the three County Commissioners and County Surveyor Kevin Breitzke -- before it can go into effect.

Novotney said there will be an application process for the shared-cost program and evaluation. As the proposal reads, the property owner would agree to pay for all the materials with the culvert replacement and site reconstruction, such as the culvert itself, backfill, erosion control blankets, bedding and topsoil. The County, on its part, would provide the labor and equipment.

“How do you determine the amount shared?” asked Advisory Board President Scott Severson.

Novotney said the costs would be decided on a case-by-case basis. The County would however have a say in what materials will be used, not the property owner, in the replacement to make sure they are what is needed for the drain to work properly. The property owners would be responsible for obtaining the proper permits as well, Novotney said.

The types of culverts include residential driveway culverts and farm lane culverts that are over regulated open drains. The overall goal is to be “proactive” and improve the County’s stormwater drainage system, Novotney said.

“The failure of such private crossings, particularly during a large storm event, would have a significant negative impact on the County’s regulated drainage infrastructure,” said Novotney. He said that a collapse or clog of a culvert could cause flooding for neighboring properties.

The Department would advertise the replacement program on the County’s website and would make it known to property owners who are discovered to have poor-to-failed crossings.

Breizke praised the proposal, saying he is happy the County has reached the point where it can offer the program due to the recent formation of the County Stormwater Department.

“It’s been discussed for a long time. I think it’s a wonderful idea. Believe it or not, a lot of these crossings were never permitted by the Drainage Board,’ he said.

Intern program results

Also Monday, Novotney shared the results of the Department’s inventory and assessment program done by eight interns this summer. The Department developed assessment protocols in-house, Novotney said, and the program was an overall success.

The interns assessed and inventoried 1,239 culverts, 2,568 storm sewer structures, 15 miles of regulate drains, about 100 detention basins and 50 non-regulated detention basins.

Novotney said about 200 culverts and storm sewer structures were discovered to be in need of replacement and roughly 550 had structural damage of some kind.

The interns collected data on smartphones and tablet computers, using apps that would automatically upload information to the County’s GIS system, said GIS Technician Kari Chael.

Novotney said the interns worked efficiently on their data collection and had much of the work done by July. The most common criticism in the feedback from the interns was they would have liked to be even busier, he said.



Posted 9/13/2017










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