Good Oil, owner of
the BP Amoco on Indian Boundary Road, appears to have found--after one false
start--a permanent fix to its groundwater-infiltrated sanitary-sewer
residual gasoline in the ground was leaching into that lateral and
collecting in the Chesterton Utility’s lift station across the street, in
front of McDonald’s. Shortly after midnight on June 25, the vapors from that
gasoline, possibly mixing with methane from the sewage itself--were ignited
by a spark thrown by the lift station’s control panel, causing the shed
housing the pump to explode.
No one was hurt in
the incident and--remarkably--the pump and the control panel were not
significantly damaged. But investigators determined within 24 hours that old
gasoline still in the soil on the BP property, left from a leak discovered
years ago in an underground storage tank and since mediated, was finding its
way into the service lateral, possibly under strong hydrostatic pressure
from recent heavy rains.
At the Utility
Service Board’s meeting Monday night, Superintendent Terry Atherton reported
that, since the explosion, Good Oil has plugged the old lateral with
concrete and abandoned it. The company then installed a seamless high
density polyethylene lateral in its place.
Only, however, to
discover another breach elsewhere in the line. That breach was similarly
plugged with concrete and then the brand-new lateral also abandoned,
Good Oil is now
opting instead to install a grinder pump to flow sewage to a manhole on the
north side of Indian Boundary Road, just east of the Taco Bell, Atherton
said. “This reason for this is to use a force main, and not a gravity line,
so that the force main is up out of the (gasoline) still in the ground.
Instead of being five to six feet deep, the new line would only be three to
four feet deep” and well above the water table.
Atherton did take a
moment to thank builder Paul Shinn and his crew for erecting a temporary
shed at the McDonald’s site; and Ellis Electric for helping with electrical
In other business,
Atherton reported that the collections crew has jetted 44,660 feet of sewer
main this year. That amounts to 14.1 percent of the total 316,800 feet in
the system. The Utility’s goal this year: to jet 20 percent of the system.
Just for the
record, 44,660 feet are equivalent to 8.45 miles; 316,800 feet, to 60 miles.
collections crew has also televised 3,205 feet of sewer main, or 1 percent
of the system. The Utility’s goal in 2014: to televise 20 percent of the
system. “We expect that the televising will pick up in the colder months,”
Nice Job on the
Member Jim Raffin
took a moment at the end of the meeting to thank fellow Member--and Street
Commissioner--John Schnadenberg for his men’s good work in keeping the
disruption to traffic to a minimum during the re-lining of the 48-inch main
under Eighth Street.
June in Review
In June, Chesterton
used 49.98 percent of its 3,668,000 gallon per day (gpd) allotment of the
wastewater treatment plant; Porter, 64.44 percent of its 851,000 gpd
allotment; the Indian Boundary Conservancy District, 47.77 percent of its
81,000 gpd allotment; and the plant as a whole, 53.04 percent of its 4.6
million gpd capacity.
being the wettest month in years--with 8.13 inches of rain recorded at the
plant--there were no bypasses of sewage into the Little Calumet River.
In June the Utility
ran a deficit of 227,977.70 and in the year-to-date is running a deficit of