Businesses with questions and comments about the impending Downtown sewer
project will soon have a handy way of communicating with the firm contracted
to engineer the construction.
At Tuesday night’s meeting of the Chesterton Utility Service Board, Paul
Hummel, vice-president of Lawson-Fisher Associates, provided members with a
comment form which, he said, will be distributed to Town Manager Bernie
Doyle and available at his office, located at 220 Broadway at the old New
York Central passenger depot.
Heather Ennis, executive director of the Chesterton/Duneland Chamber of
Commerce—which leases space at the old depot—will also have copies of the
The form can be mailed to Lawson-Fisher’s offices in South Bend.
“It’s a good form,” President Larry Brandt said. “I hope we get a lot of
participation from the Downtown businesses and from anyone else interested.”
Town Engineer Mark O’Dell added that sometime in the next couple of weeks a
meeting will be scheduled with the business community to keep them apprised
of the project’s progress.
Meanwhile, Hummel told the Service Board that surveying of the project area
is continuing, although the weather has not been particularly cooperative.
At this point the project is scheduled to go out to bid on April 1, while
Phase I of the project—affecting South Calumet Road between the Norfolk
Southern right-of-way and West Indiana Ave.—has a target completion date of
June 18. But “that’s a lot of work in a short period of time,” Hummel
cautioned. “That’s aggressive.”
Hummel also noted that “it will be a challenge coordinating” with the other
utilities, the Northern Indiana Public Service Company and Indiana-American
Water Company. “It’s a very tight utility corridor,” he said.
For his part Brandt observed that no one at this point really knows what’s
under the roadway, what sorts of old structures might be excavated, and of
course what pranks the weather may play.
In other business, the Service Board gave a hearty welcome to newly hired
Utility Superintendent Paul Geisendorfer, a 25-year veteran of wastewater
management and the holder of a Wisconsin Class IV permit.
“It’s my extreme pleasure to introduce to this town our new superintendent
of the Utility,” Brandt said. “So welcome aboard, Paul.”
Geisendorfer’s first official day on the job will be March 1.
Members did vote 5-0 to endorse an amendment to the 2010 Salary Ordinance
under which Geisendorfer will be paid an annual salary of $66,000. He will
earn $68,000 on receiving his Indiana Class IV permit.
The Town Council is likely to consider that ordinance at its next meeting,
The Service Board also voted 5-0 to approve a contract, at a price not to
exceed $20,000, with H.J. Umbaugh & Associates for the next biennial rate
O’Dell said that the price is the same as the one for the previous rate
study, conducted by Umbaugh in 2008.
The Service Board voted 5-0 as well to approve a month-to-month lease, at a
cost of $1,500 per month, with the owner of the former Pioneer Lumber
building on Grant Ave., as a temporary home for the Utilities field
collection crew, which will soon be evicted from its current quarters at the
former United Tractor facility at 116 N. 15th St. when that structure is
The town is replacing the old United Tractor facility with a brand-new
On top of the Downtown sanitary sewer replacement and separation project—on
top of the installation of a new sanitary force main along Porter Ave.
between South Calumet Road and Fifth Street—there’s one other project bound
to inconvenience motorists this season: the re-lining of the 18-inch gravity
line on the south side of Porter Ave. between South Calumet and Sixth
That project—partially funded by a federal earmark secured by U.S. Rep. Pete
Visclosky, D-1st—is scheduled to go out to bid late in February and awarded
sometime in April, O’Dell said.
In January Chesterton used 49.04 percent of its 3,750,000 gallon per day (gpd)
allotment of the wasterwater treatment plant; Porter, 57.66 percent of its
767,000 gpd allotment; the Indian Boundary Conservancy District, 73.94
percent of its 81,000 gpd allotment; and the plant as a whole, 50.57 percent
of its capacity.
There were no bypasses recorded last month.
In January the Utility ran a surplus of $99,635.
While on the subject of bypasses, Brandt took note of a “Quickly” item
published recently in the Post-Tribune in which the contributor
wondered how the wastewater treatment plant could accept sewage from Porter
hospital’s new facility in Liberty Township—Porter has not yet announced
which municipality will be treating its sewage—“with all the bypasses”
recorded at the plant.
Brandt dismissed the contributor as a “moron,” said that bypasses are not a
function of a plant’s capacity but rather of stormwater infiltration into
the collection system, and added that the days of bypasses in any event are
numbered. “I think we’re headed in the very near future toward not having