Chesterton Tribune



County eyes cost sharing replacement program for drainage culverts

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A new proposal by the Porter County Department of Development and Stormwater Management staff would have the County implement a cost-sharing program for the replacing of infrastructure on a private crossing within a regulated drain.

The property owner would pay for the materials while the County would take responsibility for installing them in a new drain, said County Stormwater Engineer Mike Novotney who discussed the proposal at Monday’s Stormwater Advisory Board meeting.

“I think the (Development and Stormwater Management) Department and the property owner has an interest in making sure that the infrastructure is in good condition. I view this as good public relations, to work with our fee payers and meet in the middle in terms of cost,” said Novotney.

The process is like one that the Porter County Highway Department is currently developing, Novotney said, where it will replace a property owner’s driveway culvert that is in the county right-of-way and roadside ditches as long as the owner agrees to pay for materials and replacing of pavement.

County Commissioner and Stormwater Board member Jeff Good said the County has received several requests for culvert replacements as many are getting older or worn. He said he and Highway Superintendent Andy McKay and the Department of Development and Stormwater Management Director Robert Thompson have met to see what the County is responsible for from a legal standpoint.

“We thought we could be proactive and try to come up with a program that would work for everybody,” Good said.

There is a state law that gives county drainage boards the ability to form cost-sharing programs for private crossings, Indiana Code 36-9-27-72.

Good said that as the County is getting grants for road paving from the state, it would like to undertake getting the culverts upgraded to have good drainage structures for the roads.

“I think it might slow us up in the beginning but I think once we get the ball rolling, it’s going to help our roadway drainage,” said Good. “From the perspective of the Board of Commissioners, we feel this is something we needed to check off the list.”

County Surveyor and Stormwater Board member Kevin Breitzke agreed that coordinating with the Highway Department would help with getting the right-sized culverts and elevations.

Good asked his colleagues on the advisory board to send any suggestions they have to the department staff so a final resolution can be decided on soon.

MS4 update

Also during the meeting, Senior Stormwater Specialist Reggie Korthals with Butler, Fairman and Seufert advised the board on items to look out for in the upcoming changes to the Municipal Separate Stormwater Sewer System (MS4) permitting process.

Governmental entities within a designated urbanized map would be able to file reports to the state under the same general permit, although each entity would have their own separate number for the permit, she said.

“It saves you from duplicating work and its saves a bit of money in the long run,” Korthals said. Which entities can be included in the general permit would depend on the 2010 Census data, she added.

Korthals said she sees the state requiring more documentation from local governments as “the focus is going to be on compliance” with more audits and inspections.

She also encouraged the Porter County Stormwater Management Board to look at what it’s doing and not be short on the six minimum control measures for the MS4 permit which include public education and outreach, illicit discharge detection and elimination, construction site runoff and control for new developments and pollution prevention for municipal operations.

Tanner Trace appeal

In requests, the board heard a petition by Tanner Trace resident Donald Trowbridge to waive the stormwater fee for a 1’ x 60’ strip of land that is past the east dead-end of Alled Dr.

Given the small size of the parcel, Novotney said staff recommends the fee be reduced to $10 per year. The parcel is non-buildable and is going to remain in its natural condition, he said.

The advisory board voted unanimously to recommend the fee reduction to Stormwater Management Board which will vote on the issue under the consent agenda at its meeting next week.


Novotney also mentioned that the department will have a total of eight interns working for them this summer, four of whom will be collecting data for the drainage infrastructure system.

Due to the more than average amount of rain the past two months, the department has received more complaints than usual, Novotney said. The data collected by the interns will help the department address more issues, he said.



Posted 5/9/2017




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