Chesterton Tribune

Chesterton utility board mulling ways to pay for $11.6M storage tank to reduce sewage overflows

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The Town of Chesterton’s most recent estimate of the cost of building a 1.2-million gallon storage tank, as part of a federally mandated and state administered program to reduce sewage overflows during heavy rain events: $11,645,000.

It’s a big-ticket item, no doubt, and that cost doesn’t include other modifications which the Long Term Control Plan (LTCP)—as the Indiana Department of Environmental Management calls it—might require of the wastewater treatment plant.

So the question which the Utility Service Board is now asking itself is this one: how will the Utility fund the LTCP?

At its meeting Monday night, the Service Board made moves to position itself to pay for the LTCP in one of either two ways.

First, members voted unanimously to submit to the Indiana Finance Authority an application for a State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan, the same instrument with which the Utility financed the last expansion of the wastewater treatment plant.

Second, members also voted unanimously to enter a contract, at a cost of $34,000, with the London Witte Group, to prepare a revenue and rate study, with an eye on the adequacy of existing rates to support a sewer bond issue; and to enter another contract, at a price of $35,000, with Shanahan & Shanahan LLP to serve as bond counsel for a possible issue.

The maximum amount of that bond issue: $15 million.

Associate Town Attorney Chuck Parkinson told the Chesterton Tribune after the meeting that the Service Board has committed itself, at this point, neither to an SRF loan nor to a bond issue, but is merely taking the necessary steps to pursue one of them.

The larger point is this: members had been hoping to secure some other option—namely, a federal grant—to make the cost of the mandated LTCP easier going down.

Doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

“So there’s really nothing else out there?” Member Scot McCord asked Mark Nye of DLZ, the LTCP’s contracted engineer.

“No,” Nye replied.

The idea behind the 1.2-million gallon storage tank—which will require upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant’s lift station—is to store excess flow during heavy rain events. When the rain has lessened and the plant has caught up, a gravity line will then bleed the excess gallonage back to the lift station, to be pumped to the plant for treatment. Nye has said that the tank will reduce most—but not all—sewage overflows into the Little Calumet River.

The project is currently in the design stage, to be completed by July 2013. Then funding development: September 2013-March 2014. Then bidding and construction: January 2015-June 2016. Finally, startup and commissioning: June 2016-December 2017.

July in Review

In July, Chesterton used 40.41 percent of its 3,668,000 gallon per day (gpd) allotment of the wastewater treatment plant; Porter, 48.08 percent of its 851,000 gpd allotment; the Indian Boundary Conservancy District, 49.28 percent of its 81,000 gpd allotment; and the plant as a whole, 41.22 percent of its capacity.

The plant bypassed a total of 85,074 gallons in July. A total of 5.7 inches of rain fell at the plant last month, the wettest of the year.

Also in July, the Utility ran a surplus of $268,497.15 and in the year-to-date is running a surplus of $173,316.30.



Posted 8/22/2012