Chesterton Tribune


Utility board urges folks to sign petition to keep fed dollars going to state fund

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Take it one step at a time.

(1) It could cost some $14 million to build a storage tank at the Chesterton wastewater treatment plant, to hold excess water during heavy rain events and thereby reduce the need to dump raw sewage into the Little Calumet River.

(2) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is mandating that improvement, and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management is holding the town’s feet to the fire.

(3) The Utility Service Board is currently mulling the possibility of financing that $14 million through a loan from the State Revolving Fund (SRF), administered by the Indiana Finance Authority. The SRF itself is funded with federal moneys and for every fed dollar appropriated the State of Indiana kicks in 20 cents.

(4) But the U.S. Congress is also currently mulling reductions in SRF appropriations nationwide.

(5) So it’s conceivable that, when the town’s SRF loan—should it seek one—comes up for review, there won’t be funds available to grant it.

That’s why the Service Board is urging folks to sign a petition being circulated by the Alliance for the Great Lakes, which is attempting to collect 5,000 signatures to present to Congress to keep the SRF dollars in stream.

As the Alliance puts it, “Even in times of fiscal stress, cutting corners on clean water will only result in greater costs tomorrow. Clean water is a good investment. A study by the Brookings Institution found that every $1 invested in Great Lakes restoration leads to at least $2 in economic return through the creation of jobs, tourism, and development.”

At the Service Board’s meeting Monday night, President Larry Brandt asked residents to visit the Alliance’s website and sign a petition to be found there. The address:

August in Review

In August Chesterton used 38.75 percent of its 3,668,000 gallon per day (gpd) allotment of the wastewater treatment plant; Porter, 48.69 percent of its 851,000 gpd allotment; the Indian Boundary Conservancy District, 51.22 percent of its 81,000 gpd allotment; and the plant as a whole, 42.30 percent of its capacity.

There were no combined sewage overflows last month, which saw total rain of 3.75 inches.

In August the Utility ran a deficit of $260,636.77 and in the year-to-date is running a deficit of $87,320.47.

Posted 9/18/2012