Burns Harbor Town
officials are hoping to find ways to increase the flow to the sanitary sewer
system that would alleviate the “rotten cabbage” odor that has kept
residents on Westport and Haglund Roads holding their noses for years.
Sanitation Board decided to discuss it Wednesday after resident Gayle Van
Loon made complaints about the smell at her mother’s house on Haglund Rd. at
last week’s Town Council meeting.
No one should have to put up with it,” Van Loon told the Sanitation Board.
“It’s been going off and on for ten or so years and it’s not getting any
better. It’s been really bad the last couple of weeks. It smells like rotten
Superintendent Bill Arney said that two nearby lift stations were
refurbished in 2010 and a force main pipe was rebuilt with air relief valves
but the odor has persisted. He surmises that the main problem is low flow.
“If we don’t have
that flowing through there to push that it starts off gassing and that’s the
smell you’re getting,” Arney said.
Nearly every Town
lift station, except for a couple, is being pumped to a manhole next to Van
Loon’s mother’s property, Arney said.
With a closed
system, off-gassing occurs with low flow in the force main. The gas is
catching up to a vent pipe which prevents the odor on the inside but it is
there outside, he said.
A few possible
things that could be done include installing air systems to push the gas or
filtration systems. A check valve in the line could hold some of the gas
from the backflow, he said.
Jeanette Hicks suggested installing a grinder pump system with a valve for
the force main. It would close off the resident’s own system and gas won’t
be able to come up her vent. However, the odor would remain around the
The Town has used
grinder pumps before, Arney said. The Town would pay for the install of the
pump at no cost to the homeowner but afterwards the pump would become the
Toni Biancardi said she would like a plumber to look at the system and give
their suggestions of what the best solution would be. The board will then
consider what the next step should be such as using valves or a grinder
Earlier in the
meeting, the board revisited its discussion of changing the Town’s
regulations for businesses operating a car wash, which board members James
Constantine and Nathan Tumblin said could give the sewer system more flow to
help with the odor at Westport and Haglund.
The Town years ago
put strong limitations on car washes in an agreement with the steel plant,
Biancardi said. With advances in technology, she said it may be worth having
the discussion to make changes to those limitations.
Town Attorney Clay Patton to reach out to ArcelorMittal and see if they
would want to have a discussion.
“We just want to
start the conversation,” she said.
The Town’s code
currently requires a 95 percent recirculation of water used. Arney said
there are new regulations by the Indiana Department of Environmental
Management that require 80 percent recirculation and catch basins for the
Discharge that is
coming through an automated car wash will be better in terms of quality into
the Town’s sewer system than what it is receiving from the dealerships
current methods of hand washing, Arney added.
been asking about having automated car washes and Arney said the Town’s
system could handle, and benefit from, the added flow.
“It could help us
with our flow issues. We need some flow. Our system was built for maximum
flow and we need it moving. And we’ve got the capacity. We are not going to
overdo our capacity,” Arney said. “It will keep water moving and that is
definitely what we need.”
Oil and grease
In other business,
the board discussed violations and fines for improper discharges into the
Town sewer system, prompted by a problem at Lakeshore Ford.
Lakeshore Ford has
remedied the situation with their separator and no violation was charged,
But if a violation
should happen, Biancardi asked if a change should be made to fines for the
Town to recoup costs to fix the matter.
According to Code,
anyone who shall continue to commit violations can be charged a daily fine
not to exceed $2,500.
Biancardi asked if
the Town can charge costs for cleaning or stopping any overflows. Patton
said that it sounds more like describing a situation where litigation would
be filed to recoup costs, which could be complicated. It is a more efficient
way to have just a flat fee for a violation, he said.
At the Stormwater
Board meeting Wednesday, the board agreed to move ahead to clear the ditch
at Westport Rd. on the east side of Ind. 149.
It would be a
cheaper alternative, board member Ray Poparad said, and INDOT has given its
permission. The cost would be about $43,000, less than the $300,000
originally estimated to revamp the drainage system there.
The ditch will need
to be cleared before paving on Westport. Rd can start, Biancardi said. The
paving is being done with road grant funds from the state.