Chesterton Tribune



Burns Harbor Sanitary board discusses solutions for Westport Road odor

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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.

The Town’s 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.

“It’s disgusting. 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 cabbage.”

Sanitation 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.

Town Engineer 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 manhole.

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 homeowner’s responsibility.

Board President 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 pump.

Car washes

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.

Biancardi asked 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 degreasers.

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.

Businesses have 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 violations

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, Arney said.

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.

Drainage on Westport

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.



Posted 1/19/2017





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