Chesterton Tribune



County stormwater bd looking to help smaller towns apply for MS4 permits

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The Porter County Stormwater Advisory Board plans to offer assistance to Lake Michigan coastal communities for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) permits.

County Engineer Mike Novotney said at the board’s meeting Monday night that the MS4 permit program is derived from the Clean Water Act and regulates the water quality of runoff that can find its way into public U.S. waters. MS4 entities have to develop stormwater quality management plans that address six components--public education and outreach, public involvement, illicit discharge, construction and post-construction run-off standards, pollution prevention and good housekeeping.

The topic came up Monday when Novotney reported that the county’s MS4 permit expires this year, and likely won’t be renewed until the beginning of 2019. Board member and County Board of Commissioners President Jeff Good, R-Center, asked Novotney how the communities on Porter County’s Lake Michigan shore will be affected by the new permit. Novotney responded that all communities with run-off draining to Lake Michigan and its tributaries will be included under the new permit, including small communities that were conditionally exempt from the program in the past such as Beverly Shores, Town of Pines, Dune Acres, and Ogden Dunes.

Good noted that the process of forming stormwater quality management plans and completing MS4 forms could be cost prohibitive for small municipalities, so the county hopes to step in. “For some of the communities up there that may not be large enough, we’re going to approach them to see if we can do their MS4 forms,” he said. Novotney and County Surveyor Kevin Breitzke agreed that the county can offer valuable help.

Other Business

In other business, the board heard from DLZ engineer Frank Stewart and Hebron Town Attorney Ted Fitzgerald who sought approval for a project to remove three culverts from Cobb Creek and mitigate flooding near the intersection of Ind. 8 and Sigler Street in Hebron. The east bank of Cobb Creek in the project area isn’t level with the west bank, and Stewart said that DLZ recommends removing the culverts and building a berm to offset flooding. Novotney said his office concurs after reviewing the construction plans and considering erosion and downstream effects. The board approved the project. The county will maintain the berm because Cobb Creek is a public waterway.

Novotney also gave a brief sample of the 2017 annual report, which is currently in the works. He reported the county completed 66 stormwater projects and about a dozen collaborative efforts. The value of that work was roughly $900,000. The report will be public on the county website once it is done.

Novotney said there are 12 projects underway or starting soon, and plans for 2018 include large scale ditch maintenance and subdivision projects. “We’re looking forward to another strong year here in 2018.”

County Stormwater Board awards ditch work contracts


The Porter County Department of Development and Storm Water Management Board awarded bids and heard project updates at its meeting last week.

The board opened sealed bids for mowing and tree removal at Dog Lake Ditch from C.R. 800S to C.R. 900S, and for mowing and tree removal at Morrow Ditch at U.S. Highway 231 and C.R. 100S. County Engineer Mike Novotney reviewed the bids and recommended the low bidders, which the board duly approved: M & K Excavating, $26,700, for Dog Lake Ditch; and K & L Excavating, $89,400, for Morrow Ditch.

Project Updates

In other business, Novotney reported that contracts are in the works for the five consultants approved for the project in South Haven. Once finished, the contracts will go to County Attorney Scott McClure for review. If all is in order, work can start after the Jan. 30 meeting.

Board member and Commissioner President Jeff Good, R-Center, revisited the issue of the old sheriff’s substation on C.R. 700N and reported that the Redevelopment Commission has received clearance to develop the property into a Highway Department substation.

Board member and Commissioner Jim Biggs, R-North, reported that the long vacant parcel would be put to good use as a base for snow management and stormwater operations. He added, “Why it fell on hard times and ended up sitting there vacant, I don’t know.”

Good assured that a lot of thought has gone into the new plan for the property, and he believes that focus should lie on that. “I like to talk about the future, and I know everybody is wondering how it happened and how it got to that point but we’re moving on.”

Biggs agreed that the board should look to the future. Allowing the property to fall into disrepair was inexcusable, he added, but South Haven can look forward to an exciting period of development in the next year or two.


Posted 1/23/2018




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