Chesterton Tribune



Town Engineer: Drainage solutions limited in older parts of town

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Many of the older neighborhoods in the Town of Chesterton remain unserved by separate stormwater sewer systems.

Back in the day, a combined sewer--for the disposal of stormwater and wastewater alike--was the preferred solution to all water problems but those were unsatisfactory then, because they dumped wastewater directly into streams and ponds and rivers, and they remain unsatisfactory now, because they have a way of flooding wastewater treatment plants during heavy rain events.

So when the resident of a neighborhood developed half a century ago or more takes a drainage complaint to the Stormwater Management Board, the range of feasible solutions may be limited

Two cases in point: the 100 block of Washington Ave. and the 2200 block of Lincoln Ave., where runoff tends to pool at the foot of driveways for a few days after a rain.

Last July, Dave Krieter of Washington Ave. sought a remedy for what he said was pooling severe enough to force him to get in his car and drive the 15 feet to his mailbox. Town Engineer Mark O’Dell, directed by the board to review the problem, noted at the time that any relic inlet in the neighborhood is part of an old combined stormwater/sanitary system and adding a new connection to it would be illegal.

Also illegal: the installation of a dry well.

But installing a brand-new separate stormwater sewer line would entail the construction of inlets, manholes, and 1,200 feet of pipe to drain the neighborhood into the Pope O’Connor Ditch: a project which O’Dell estimated would have a “cost-prohibitive price-tag” in excess of $250,000.

So when Krieter approached Town Council Member Jim Ton, R-1st, late in December, again seeking relief, O’Dell made these suggestions in an e-mail of his own, which he shared with the Stormwater Management Board at its meeting Monday night.

Krieter could re-grade the 10 feet of town right-of-way in his front yard and the 15 feet along his side yard “into a shallow swale (as it was before the house was built on the property) for the water to be detained in until it can permeate into the surrounding soil”; or Krieter could install, also in the right-of-way, a French drain to collect and hold runoff.

“All of the newly built homes on Washington Ave. were approved for building permits with no drainage swales along the front and side yards, as this was a previously platted subdivision with no infrastructure improvements,” O’Dell added. “All of the stormwater from these properties contributes to the problem. . . . This can be reduced by capturing the stormwater runoff and distributing it to your side yard to permeate into the ground.”

The other case in point: a duplex in the 2200 block of Lincoln Ave., owned by Virginia Kottaridis, who told the board Monday night that only four years ago there was no pooling problem. Now there is. Can the town help?

O’Dell said that he and Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg have driven the neighborhood and at the moment really have no idea why runoff has begun to pool after rains when only a few years ago it didn’t. Possibly groundwater levels have risen. In any case, O’Dell observed, “I’ll have a better chance of figuring out what the problem is in the spring.”

Still, no matter what’s causing the pooling, solutions in the 2200 block of Lincoln Ave. are as limited as they are in the 100 block of Washington Ave. There are no storm sewers here, O’Dell said, “there’s nowhere for the water to go,” and it would cost something on the order of $4 million to build a system to drain the area.

Kottaridis’ best bet may also be a French drain with a layer of stone added to keep the area from turning into a mudhole, O’Dell said. “But this spring we’ll look at what additional options we might have.”

Easton Park Infrastructure

In other business, O’Dell reported that work has begun on the sanitary sewer infrastructure at Easton Park, the 346-lot single-family subdivision under development at the terminus of East Porter Ave., east of 250E.

For President Tom Kopko the big question was this: will the installation of the sewer main force the closure of East Porter Ave.?

It will not, O’Dell said. The main for the most part will be installed along the side of the road. On the other hand, temporary lane restrictions are likely from time to time, with a flagger on hand to direct traffic.

2015 Financials

Meanwhile, O’Dell reported that the Stormwater Utility finished the year in the black, with a surplus of $17,606, compared to an originally projected surplus of $1,250.

Other numbers:

* Total revenue in 2015: $462,986, marginally higher--by less than 1 percent--than the projected revenue of $459,300.

* Total expenses: $390,130, a little lower--by around 3 percent--than the projected expenses of $404,050.

Election of Officers

The board voted 3-0 to re-elect Kopko to the presidency and Member Al Pisarski to the vice-presidency.

February Meeting Re-scheduled

The board also voted 3-0 to re-schedule next month’s meeting from 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 15--Presidents’ Day, a municipal holiday--to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16.


Posted 1/19/2016




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