Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Quick thinking by treatment plant operators likely prevented a bypass

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By KEVIN NEVERS

Quick thinking by two operators at the Chesterton wastewater treatment plant may well have prevented a sewage bypass last month, newly appointed Utility Superintendent Terry Atherton reported to the Utility Service Board at its meeting Monday night.

Power failures had caused the raw sewage pumps to short out but Zach Blakley and Spencer West managed to cobble together a combination of pumps, using the computer SCADA system, to keep the sewage flowing, Atherton said.

He added that quotes are now being obtained for the installation of manual override switches to allow operators to run the pumps without going through the SCADA.

Member Andy Michel expressed his gratitude to Blakley and West and noted that their work is yet another example of the professionalism demonstrated by the Utility’s employees.

Long Term Control Plan

In other business, a representative of engineering firm DLZ reported that work on Phase I of the long term control plan to reduce sewage bypasses during rain eventsÑa federally mandated programÑshould officially begin in the September, due to the lead time required in obtaining the necessary materials and equipment:

* Phase IA will consist of upgrades at the treatment plant. Contractor: Thieneman Construction of Westfield, Ind. Contract price: $1,649,000.

* Phase IB will consist of sewer rehabilitation. Contractor: Utility Services Authority of Belleville, Mich. Contract price: $377,828.

* Phase IC will consist of lift station upgrades. Contractor: Thieneman. Contract price: $203,000. Add $86,000 to the price, NIPSCO’s bill for switching two lift stations to three-phase power.

The total cost of Phase I: $2,315,828, or around $125,072 under budget.

Meanwhile, the Service Board is now waiting for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to complete its technical review of Phase II, the center piece of the long term control plan: the construction of 1.2-million gallon tank to store stormwater-diluted wastewater during heavy rains until the treatment plant has had a chance to catch up.

The DLZ rep said that Phase I will “hopefully” go out to bid in September, in order to close on a low-interest loan from the State Revolving Fund (SRF).

The total estimated cost of the long term control plan: $14.9 million.

The Service Board did approve, by a 5-0 vote, a contract with DLZ for $160,500, under which DLZ will perform construction management and oversight services for Phase I work.

The Service Board also approved, again unanimously, a supplemental agreement with DLZ, authorizing the firm to bill the Utility another $160,000 for Phase I services not originally contemplated, namely, the splitting of the bids.

Transfer of Funds

Meanwhile, at Atherton’s urging, members voted 5-0 to authorize a transfer of $337,000 from the Depreciation Fund to the Operating Fund to cover current and anticipated payables.

The current deficit, Atherton noted, is a temporary one, a “bridge over the float time,” until the Utility is reimbursed from the SRF approximately $350,000 in cash in hand already spent on engineering the long term control plan.

Collections Overview

Atherton made note of the following in his wrap-up of recent and ongoing collections work:

* An emergency repair was made at 1601 Broadway.

* The re-lining of the 48-inch sewer along Eighth Street between West Porter Ave. and Lincoln Ave. should begin in the next three to four weeks.

* Contractor R.V. Sutton Inc. will be replacing the sewer main in the alley north of West Porter Ave. between 14th and 15th streets as well as replacing two manholes.

June in Review

In June, Chesterton used 47.49 percent of its 3,668,000 gallon per day (gpd) allotment at the wastewater treatment plant; Porter, 57.88 percent of its 851,000 gpd allotment; the Indian Boundary Conservancy District, 70.77 percent of its 81,000 gpd allotment; and the plant as a whole, 49.02 percent of its capacity.

There was a bypass of 154,000 gallons of sewage into the Little Calumet River, the first of the year, in a month which saw 5.17 inches of rain. The bypass occurred in the wake of a torrential rainfall totaling 1.43 inches in 90 minutes on June 26.

The Utility ran a deficit of $286,311.21 cents in June and in the year-to-date is running a deficit of $497,950.93.

 

Posted 7/17/2013