Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Quandry: How much should town spend to mitigate localized temporary flooding?

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It’s a sticky cost-benefits issue which the Chesterton Stormwater Management Board has confronted before.

How much money should the board spend—and should it spend any money at all—to mitigate highly localized drainage problems?

At its meeting Monday night, the board confronted the issue once again, without taking any action. On this occasion Martin Marciniak, a resident of Idaho Street in Western Acres, told members how, over the last several years, the street in front of his home has become prone to flooding during heavy rain events.

“It’s from lightpost to lightpost,” Marciniak said. “You can’t see the street. The ditches fill up. It’s hazardous when people turn down on Idaho Street.”

Marciniak suspects that part of the problem may be that some of his neighbors have installed piping in their ditches, then in-filled them.

That may or may not be part of the problem, Town Engineer Mark O’Dell noted. It may also be that the 15-inch culverts in Western Acres—which cameras have determined to be clear and open—simply haven’t the capacity to drain the neighborhood quickly. “There’s only so much water that’s going to fit through a 15-inch pipe,” he said.

The town could up-pipe to 18-inch culverts—which may or may not solve the problem—but with several hundred of feet of pipe it would be a pricey proposition. “How much money do we need to spend?” O’Dell wondered.

O’Dell did say that he doesn’t himself consider the amount of water in the street—when it floods—to be much of a hazard. “There’s three inches of water on the road. I don’t know. It’s a tough call.”

For his part Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg said that Idaho Street only floods a few times a year, during torrential rains, and that the water is gone 12 to 24 hours later.

The board spent a couple of minutes as well discussing a similar problem in the 1000 block of Park Ave., where—as O’Dell put it—“there’s no place for the water to go.” Several years ago he and Schnadenberg had hopes of making an in-house fix in that neighborhood but again the envisioned solution proved too costly.

“What do we do when there’s a really small problem and the solution is cost-prohibitive?” Member Christine Livingston said.

One thing the town could do—and O’Dell and Schnadenberg are looking into it—is the purchase of a trailer-mounted four-inch pump, or two portable three-inch pumps, which could be deployed in high-water areas after heavy rains.

O’Dell said that he’d have some quotes on pumps at the board’s next meeting, July 19.

Meanwhile, the board asked Schnadenberg and O’Dell to make another inspection of Western Acres and see if something new occurs to them.

MS4 Projects

MS4 Operator Jennifer Gadzala submitted the following report on his public outreach and education efforts:

•The Chesterton Middle School’s watersheds and non-point source unit was not selected to receive a Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence in Education. “That’s too bad,” Gadzala remarked. “It’s a really good program.”

•Chesterton High School sophomore Jessica Lohse’s logo design was selected for the Keep Chesterton Beautiful campaign. That logo now brands the litter campaign website at and will be included on all printed media. Go to the Keep Chesterton Beautiful website to to see a great video produced entirely by CHS Advanced TV students.

•Folks can still participate in a six-question on-line survey as part of the Leave It on the Lawn campaign, intended to teach folks the advantages of mulching lawn clippings in place of hauling them to the dump. Visit to take the survey.

•The third graders at Liberty Elementary School—112 of them—enjoyed a water quality program on May 21 presented by Gadzala and Cathy Csatari of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, while the CHS Environmental Club (Club EARTH) conducted macroinvertebrate water quality assessments in Coffee Creek on May 25.

May in Review

In May the Stormwater Utility ran a deficit of $12,343 and in the year-to-date is running a deficit of $11,429.



Posted 6/22/2010




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