Chesterton Tribune



Stormwater Utility to buy flail mower to expose old ditch east of South 11th St

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The Chesterton Stormwater Utility is going to take a crack at an old drainage ditch, located east of the headwaters of Peterson Ditch, whose normal flow westward into Peterson Ditch may be disrupted by brush and vegetation.

To that end, the Stormwater Management Board voted unanimously at its meeting Monday night to purchase, at a cost not to exceed $10,000, a brush flail mower, mountable to a mini-excavator which the Stormwater Utility would rent.

“This product does take some expertise,” Town Engineer Mark O’Dell told members. “We’ll have to train an individual how to use it. But it works unbelievable. Four to six inch trees, it just takes them down. It’s got a drum rotor with very sharp teeth. Basically knives, very sharp knives.”

The Stormwater Utility specifically is interested in exposing the ditch, likely an agricultural artifact from years ago, to determine to what extent its flow into Peterson Ditch is being hindered and by what.

Bill Laster, a resident of Oakwood Drive--located well east of the old ditch, on the far side of South 11th Street--has twice appeared before the Stormwater Management Board this year to complain that the ditch’s congestion has caused runoff to backwash into his rear yard.

O’Dell did say that, at the same time, he’s communicating with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “to make sure there are no permit issues” involved in working on the ditch.

Associate Town Attorney Chuck Parkinson did want something like an assurance from O’Dell that the ditch is not actually a stretch of the Peterson Ditch, a county-regulated drain, work on which might constitute an admission by the town that it has responsibility for maintaining it. Jurisdiction of Peterson Ditch is currently a matter of dispute between the town and Porter County.

O’Dell replied that, so far as he’s been able to tell, Peterson Ditch actually begins well west of the ditch, very near South 14th Street at Portage Ave. The ditch in question, on the other hand, “is in a no-man’s land” east of Peterson Ditch.

August in Review

In August the Stormwater Utility ran a surplus of $15,648 and in the year-to-date is running a surplus of $114,195.

Utility Service Board

Later in the evening, the Utility Service Board held its own regularly scheduled monthly meeting, at which there was little in the way of business to transact.

Superintendent Dave Ryan did provide a review of August:

Last month Chesterton used 49.89 percent of its 3,668,000 gallon per day (gpd) allotment of the wastewater treatment plant; Porter, 42 percent of its 851,000 gpd allotment; the Indian Boundary Conservancy District, 50.40 percent of its 81,000 gpd allotment; and the plant as a whole, 49.89 percent of its capacity.

There were no bypasses of wastewater into the Little Calumet River in August, which saw total rainfall recorded at the plant of 1.4 inches.

In August the Utility ran a deficit of $164,017.32 and in the year-to-date is running a surplus of $769,766.01.

Member Scot McCord did take a moment at the end of the meeting to congratulate O’Dell, MS4 Operator Jennifer Gadzala, the Park Department, and the volunteers for the excellent job they all did in landscaping the new boxcar restroom in Thomas Centennial Park. “It really turned out nice,” McCord said. “I think it really looks good.”



Posted 9/18/2019




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