Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Businesses: Look for comment form on Downtown sewer project at Chamber

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By KEVIN NEVERS

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 form.

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.

New Super

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, Feb. 22.

Rate Study

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 study.

O’Dell said that the price is the same as the one for the previous rate study, conducted by Umbaugh in 2008.

Lease Agreement

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 demolished.

The town is replacing the old United Tractor facility with a brand-new municipal building.

Porter Ave. Re-Lining

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 Street.

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.

January in Review

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 any bypasses.”

 

Posted 2/17/2010

 

 

 

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