Chesterton Tribune



Utility board told of new sinkhole on West Morgan

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Last fall the Chesterton Utility hired a contractor to slipline a 335-foot stretch of a 27-inch sanitary sewer main beneath West Morgan Ave. between 14th and 12th streets, to remedy a suspected breach in the pipe through which sand and gravel were being washed away, causing a recurring sink hole to form immediately west of 14th Street.

Now a new sinkhole has emerged, on West Morgan Ave. just east of 12th Street, and a breach in the same sewer main is believed to be culprit. So Superintendent Dave Ryan reported at Monday night’s meeting of the Utility Service Board.

The new sinkhole has been backfilled twice, Ryan said, and “seems to be okay now.”

The source of the sinkhole, however--like that of the one which formed in 2017--is uncertain. A video camera last year was never able to confirm a breach in the pipe, which as Ryan noted at the time didn’t mean there wasn’t some “dime- or quarter-sized hole we couldn’t see.”

This time the video camera has found a “pencil-sized hole near a joint,” which Ryan said could be the problem. “But if that’s what causing the sinkhole, it’s been going on for years.”

Ryan told the Service Board that plans are being made to slipline the rest of the West Morgan Ave. sewer main in sections.

CSO Notification Plan

In other business, members voted unanimously to approve an expenditure of up to $5,000 to retain the services of a consultant--should Ryan deem one necessary--to prepare a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) public notification plan, a new requirement imposed by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

The plan is due by Aug. 7 and will be a condition of the Utility’s next National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, which authorizes the Utility to operate the wastewater treatment plant.

The construction several years ago of the 1.2-million gallon storage basin at the plant has significantly reduced both the frequency and severity of releases of wastewater into the Little Calumet River during heavy rain events.

The Lab Honored, Once Again

Meanwhile, Ryan announced that the Utility’s lab has once again been awarded the Indiana Water Environment Association’s Laboratory Excellence Award.

“Kudos to our staff for their dedication and efforts in making this achievement possible,” Ryan said.

The Service Board heartily applauded lab staff and while no one could remember exactly how many consecutive years the Utility’s lab has been so honored, President Larry Brandt noted that the award has been presented to staff every year of his tenure on the board, and that’s very nearly a quarter of a century. “Congratulations to the lab,” he said. “They did an excellent job again.”

May in Review

In May, Chesterton used 57.18 percent of its 3,668,000 gallon per day (gpd) allotment of the wastewater treatment plant; Porter, 58.32 percent of its 851,000 gpd allotment; the Indian Boundary Conservancy District, 74.36 percent of its 81,000 gpd allotment; and the plant as a whole, 57.70 percent of its capacity.

There were no bypasses of wastewater into the Little Calumet River in May, in what was the wettest month of the year to date, with 5.98 inches of rain recorded at the plant.

In May the Utility ran a surplus of $245,497.34 and in the year to date in running a surplus of $498,468.76.


Posted 6/20/2018




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