Chesterton Tribune



Utility board hoping for lower bids to keep long term control plan in budget

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The second round of bids for Phase I of the Chesterton Utility’s federally mandated long term control plan (LTCP) will be opened at a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. June 3, after the first round was rejected as too high.

Too high by a country mile.

On Monday, Mark Nye of DLZ, the LTCP’s contracted engineer, told the Utility Service Board that the specs for the three components of Phase I have been tweaked enough to remove an estimated $2.6 million of work from this part of the LTCP and that he’s hopeful the new round of bids will be vastly more competitive.

“We’re seeing a lot more interest (among bidders) and we’ve been on the phone drumming up more interest,” Nye said.

“With any luck, maybe the bids will come in better,” President Larry Brandt agreed.

The budget for Phase I of the LTCP: $2.723 million. The lowest aggregate bid from the first round: $5,551,952, or a little more than double the budget.

Phase 1A includes improvements at the wastewater treatment plant; Phase IB, the rehabilitation and re-lining of five manholes serving two sanitary sewer lines; and Phase IC, the acquisition of a permanent emergency generator at the Westwood Manor lift station.

The LTCP is a mandate of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, administered by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the whole point of which is to significantly reduce the amount of sewage which the Utility is forced to release into the Little Cal River during heavy rains.

Those sewage releases are more technically known as combined sewage overflows and they’re caused by unseparated sanitary and stormwater systems, or else by the infiltration of a sanitary system. During very wet weather, the amount of stormwater which finds its way into the town’s sanitary system can sometimes threaten to swamp the wastewater treatment plant, forcing bypasses.

The LTCP is designed to reduce, if not altogether to eliminate, the need for bypasses, with the construction of the 1.2-million gallon storage tankÑthe lynch pin of the planÑinto which the plant’s main lift station will pump the stomwater-diluted wastewater until the severity of the storm decreases and the plant’s capacity has had a chance to catch up. The tank will then bleed the excess back into the system for full treatment.

The total estimated cost of the plan: $14.9 million. The Utility Service Board expects to close on a low-interest loan from the State Revolving Fund early this summer.

Indian Boundary Conservancy District

Just how much stress heavy rain events can put on the wastewater treatment plant was evident last month, the wettest by far of the year, when 6.02 inches of precipitation were recorded.

Although the plant used only 46.28 percent of its capacity in March, in April with all that rain it used fully 57.33 percent of its capacity, indicating that unseparated stormwater and sanitary sewers and infiltration are allowing a great deal of runoff to enter the system.

And perhaps there are other factors at work as well, Member Scot McCord suggested, in noting that one of the Utility’s customers, the Indian Boundary Conservancy District (IBCD), used 97.86 percent of its 81,000 gallon per day (gpd) allotment in April, compared to only 75.89 percent in March.

The ICBD “has some issues,” McCord noted. “They have to have some sumps hooked up or something to have this. It’s something we need to stay on top of.”

Brandt concurred, and noted that the Utility has been working to engage the IBCD for some time in a new agreement which would provide for penalties when the IBCD exceeds its gpd allotment. “Somewhere along the line we’ve got to bring this to a head,” Brandt said.

“They need to bring their agreement up to date,” Member Jim Raffin added.

Chesterton, for its part, used 55.27 percent of its 3,668,000 gpd allotment in April; Porter, 62.34 percent of its 851,000 gpd allotment.

Even given the heavy rain, however, there were no bypasses recorded in April.



Posted 5/21/2013