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
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
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
Atherton made note of the following in his wrap-up of recent and ongoing
* 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
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.