The heads of the countywide comprehensive drainage study have been able to
pinpoint four major priority areas where flooding has been a great concern,
including the Damon Run watershed.
Drainage Project Manager Dave Burrus, who also serves as president of the
county’s drainage board, and Mike Jabo of DLZ Indiana, one of the two firms
hired by the county as consultants for the project, told the Porter County
Board of Commissioners on Tuesday the study so far has found more isolated
areas in the Damon Run watershed particularly around Swanson Lamporte ditch,
the Duck Creek watershed, the South Haven area, and the Lake Eliza area in
The priority areas surfaced after the drainage project committee and
consulting firms conducted discussions with various Porter County
municipalities, town engineers, and county departments who deal with
Burrus said from these meetings, 80 drainage issues have been identified. He
presented the commissioners with a memorandum listing 59 issues that have
been classified as “immediate action items” requiring the greatest
attention. The project team listed the location of those 59 sites as well as
possible causes associated with the issue and potential actions or long-term
Damon Run watershed area had been ranked highest priority of those 59 sites
based on the number of residents affected, the frequency of the flooding and
the potential area impacted by development. The memo lists removing
vegetative debris from specific locations like areas of the watershed
adjacent to Meridian Rd. and CR 100W as potential immediate actions.
There is no consensus yet from Damon Run constituents as to how stormwater
should be managed. A potential long-term action may be to conduct a site
reconnaissance of the Damon Run between Salt Creek and Ind. 49.
Burrus said a handful of the 59 projects could be handled by the county
itself like a simple drain or tile solution but a majority of the projects
would require very detailed engineering work to be done by outside firms.
Burrus said the county drainage board is ready to move ahead on five
locations that can be managed without outside help, two of which came from
feedback on the drainage study.
The county will team with Chesterton to replace nearly a mile of legal drain
located on right side of Gustafson Ditch near the CR 1050N and CR 200W
intersection in Liberty Twp. where flooding frequently occurs. The older
18-inch sewer pipe broken up by tree roots will be replaced with a 24-inch
sewer pipe and will feature manholes every 350 feet along CR 200W to better
catch storm water.
An inlet structure will be used at all four corners of the CR 1050N
intersection as a catch basin, Burrus said.
The town of Chesterton has agreed to allocate $50,000 in participation for
Next on the list, the county will be looking to address two to three feet of
flooding at Sturdy Rd. viaduct beneath the Norfolk and Southern R.R. north
of CR 100N in Center Twp. by removing an earthen obstruction located along
the nearby Smith Ditch.
The remaining three flooding solution projects the county is looking into
are CR 100W along the Sylvan Manor subdivision in Center Twp., CR 275S
intersection near the Lakes of the Four Seasons subdivision in Porter
Township, and also Arm 3 of the Ludington Drain near the CR 500W
intersection in Porter Township where plans are to expand the detention pond
near the vicinity of Boone Grove High School.
Burrus also mentioned that growth and development along U.S. 6 has created
high priority areas for the drainage study.
Jabo said of the 27,000 questionnaires mailed by the county in March to the
unincorporated areas, nearly 1,600 came back with input. However, the
majority of the questionnaires listed no problems.
A series of forums were also set up to collect input with almost 300
residents showing up. Those conducting the drainage study will continue to
read through the public responses that may point out additional priority
DLZ will present the commissioners with a map showing them the concentrated
areas where drainage problems occur at their next meeting on July 20.
The study is currently in its first phase which is expected to continue
through fall. The next phase will be coming up with further solutions which
may include enactment of new ordinances.
Porter County Commissioner John Evans, R-North, said the responses have
shown residents are eager for the projects to move along after years of
waiting for the county to take action to solve drainage problems countywide.
“This is really going to benefit (the county),” said Evans.
Porter County Commissioner President Robert Harper, D-Center, and fellow
commissioner Carole Knoblock, D-South, echoed Evans’ enthusiasm. All three
commissioners approved $475,000 to the five projects out of the county’s
cable fund, not including the $50,000 that will be provided by Chesterton.
“It’s amazing how this is coming together and how quick it has come
together,” said Harper.
Repair work may start in the fall once DLZ can finalize the drawings.
Knoblock gave kudos to Burrus and also the county highway department for
some of the restoration work done in the southern part of the county that
has helped farmers.
Burrus said the responses have all been very positive, with only a small
undercurrent of apprehension from some who speculate the drainage issues
will not be attended to very quickly.
Jabo said it is important to get public input to see where drainage tiles
are because some of the older tiles scattered throughout the county that
were implemented generally for agricultural purposes are not on file at the
county administration building.
The county will also be receiving the aerial topography photographs that
were taken from the air by GRW Engineers last in April. The pictures
captured through the use of LIDAR technology are expected in September.