Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Hearing Monday on $11.4M sewage tank

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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 way:

•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 parking.

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 percent.

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


Posted 5/13/2011




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