Chesterton Tribune



BP Amoco has fix to keep residual ground gasoline out of sewer lateral

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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 lateral.

The problem: 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, Atherton said.

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 installation there.

From Collections

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.

Meanwhile, the 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,” Atherton said.

Nice Job on the Relining

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.

Despite June’s 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 $344,424.26.


Posted 7/23/2014




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