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