The Chesterton Utility Service Board will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m.
Monday, May 16, on a proposed long term control plan (LTCP) to reduce
combined sewage overflows into the Little Calumet River.
The key feature of the LTCP—mandated by the Indiana Department of
Environmental Management (IDEM)—is an $11.4 million, 1.2-million gallon
storage tank to relieve the burden on the wastewater treatment plant during
heavy rain events.
The total estimated cost of the storage tank—$11,441,600—breaks down this
•Hard construction: $7,507,738.
•Twenty-percent construction contingency: $1,501,500.
•Three-percent annual inflation add-on for every year before the project is
let: $810,000 if the project does not begin until 2015.
•Engineering design: $900,900.
•Construction inspection: $720,700.
The tank will not be built—as was originally anticipated—on the State
Park Little League fields or on any part of the area used for Little League
The tank will be uncovered.
The project includes both the construction of the tank itself and an upgrade
of the treatment plant’s main lift station, which in heavy rain events will
pump a maximum of 1.2 million gallons of wastewater away from the plant and
into the tank. When the rain has lessened and the plant has caught up, a
gravity line will flow the excess back to the pump station.
President Larry Brandt has voiced his expectation that a 10- or 20-year bond
issue will need to be floated to pay for the project and that a sanitary
sewer rate hike in support of that issue need to be enacted. How much a rate
hike is not known at this point, but Brandt has guessed—and at this point
it’s just a guess—that the hike could be in the neighborhood of 20 to 25
The proposed tank will not eliminate all combined sewage overflows into the
Little Calumet River. A tank of this size would have alleviated the need to
bypass sewage in all but four of the 27 bypass events recorded in the last
four years. Only a tank with a 12-million gallon capacity—which IDEM
recognizes to be prohibitively expensive—would have precluded bypassing in
all 27 events.
Heavy rain events can overwhelm the treatment plant’s capacity—and thus
force bypasses—when too much stormwater enters the sanitary sewer system,
either through combined storm and sanitary sewers or through cracks and
breaches in the sanitary lines themselves.
A copy of the LTCP has been available for public inspection at the town hall
at 726 Broadway and on the municipal website at