In 2009 the
Chesterton wastewater treatment plant ran at not quite 61 percent of its
capacity. Six years later, in 2015, the plant ran at less than 46 percent of
That’s not because
there’s been any infrastructural expansion of the plant, or because the
volume of actual wastewater being treated by the plant has decreased. It’s
because, on the contrary, the towns of Chesterton and Porter have been
slowly, methodically, and at no little expense separating their sanitary
systems from their stormwater systems and thereby dramatically reducing the
amount of runoff which flows into the plant during rain events.
Which fact has made
Utility Service Board President Larry Brandt wonder whether it might be time
to have the plant’s capacity re-rated.
“We don’t know what
the downsides might be,” he said at Monday night’s Service Board meeting.
“But we do know what the upsides would be.”
There are two,
Brandt noted. First, a larger treatment capacity would mean the Utility
would have more capacity to sell, to potential new commercial and industrial
customers and to potential new subdivisions.
Second, he said,
under the law a wastewater treatment plant must begin the process of
physically expanding its infrastructure when it hits 85-percent capacity.
Re-rating Chesterton’s plant would mean that the very costly expansion
process could possibly be delayed by years.
The Service Board
accordingly agreed by consensus to instruct Superintendent Dave Ryan to
explore the “pluses and minuses of re-rating plant capacity.”
Ryan said that he
would get right on it.
Fox Chase Farms
In other business,
a delegation from Fox Chase Farms attended the meeting to voice their
gratitude to the Service Board for its work in connecting the
subdivision--located off Meridian Road in Liberty Township--to the town’s
As Barbara Matthews
noted, the Fox Chase Farms constructed wetlands septic mound system began
failing some 20 years ago, not very long after the subdivision was
developed. “You have become our neighborhood savior, because without sewage
service we wouldn’t have a neighborhood,” Matthews said.
“We welcome you as
customers,” Brandt said. “We welcome you as friends and neighbors.”
Brandt added that
the buy-in from Fox Chase Farms homeowners--including the literal
buy-in--was extraordinary. All of the subdivision’s 88 homeowners had to
pick up the $5,100 tab for installing grinder pumps in their residences, and
every one of them had done so within a month, he said. “One of the most
surprising things is how rapidly the Fox Chase Farms residents were able to
cover their internal cost.”
On the whole,
Brandt concluded, “it was probably one of the best projects we’ve ever done,
from a design point of view, from a cooperation point of view.”
October in Review
Chesterton used 41.85 percent of its 3,668,000 gallon per day (gpd)
allotment of the wastewater treatment plant; Porter, 48.88 percent of its
851,000 gpd allotment; the Indiana Boundary Conservancy District, 54.38
percent of its 81,000 gpd allotment; and the plant as a whole, 43.37 percent
of its capacity.
There were no
combined sewer overflows of wastewater into the Little Calumet River, in a
month which saw a total of 3.74 inches of rain.
In October the
Utility ran a deficit of $224,495.98 and in the year-to-date is running a
surplus of $453,889.63.
unanimously to hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15, on the
Rembering Jo Winey
Members Scot McCord
and Jim Raffin took a moment at the end of the meeting to express their
profound condolences to attorney Greg Babcock on the passing of his wife, Jo
Anne Winey-Babcock, on Nov. 3, and to the Winey family.