Chesterton Tribune



Utility has plan in place to replace failing supports for aerial sewer line

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Here’s an interesting fact: every bit of the sewage which flows to the Chesterton wastewater treatment plant from north of I-94--including from the Morningside subdivision--is carried by a 18-inch gravity main 700 feet of which are actually elevated some 10 to 12 feet over the Little Calumet River flood plain by a system of supports.

Here’s a more interesting fact: those supports are failing.

Here’s the most interesting fact: the flood plain beneath the aerial gravity line is a designated wetland, which means that--in order to replace the supports and protect the environment beneath--a whole slew of permits needs to be obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The permitting process, including various environmental assessments and species surveys, has been in the works for the better part of two years.

Meanwhile, as Town Engineer Mark O’Dell reported at the Utility Service Board’s meeting Monday night, the consulting engineering firm STV Group Inc. is finishing a plan for a new system of supports. Specifically, 30 screw-in helical piers will be sunk at a depth of 30 feet at 15 locations along the aerial main.

Those piers should solve the problem revealed by a geotechnical survey, which found the soil “extremely poor.” The piers shouldn’t affect the wetland itself and the work will be done on a temporary structure of “timber mats” placed on the ground. Some trees will need to be removed--and late replaced--as well.

The total estimated cost: between $200,000 and $250,000.

O’Dell told the Chesterton Tribune after the meeting that the original system of supports was replaced in the early Nineties after it failed. Now the replacement system is failing too. There is no danger now of any imminent collapse, he added, but sooner or later if not fixed the line is going to drop, right into the wetland.

O’Dell added that the aerial component of the main is necessary not to carry it over the Little Calumet but to maintain the necessary gravity grade over the length of the line. On the south side of the river the main eventually enters a manhole and flows the rest of the way to the treatment plant underground.

Collections Works

Meanwhile, Superintendent Terry Atherton reported, a variety of maintenance work is being done on the collections system.

Both the 15th Street and Eighth Street lines have been jetted and cleaned and they’re on tap for a relining, Atherton said. Jetting has also been done in the Rose Hill, Park View, and Golf View subdivisions, with Chestnut Hills to follow.

In addition, two manholes and a line have been replaced by contractor R.V. Sutton Inc. in the alley north of West Porter Ave. between 14th and 15th streets, Atherton said, while the pump for the Chesterton High School lift station is being rebuilt after a failure was found in its seal.

Recognized by IDEM

Atherton announced that laboratory personnel have once again been honored with a certificate of achievement by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) for its performance in achieving acceptable evaluations for a host of substances, including E. coli, pH, and total phosphorus.

“Our lab has once again won a certificate,” President Larry Brandt noted. “I can’t remember a year they haven’t received the recognition from IDEM.”

Atherton also announced that IDEM performed a surprise inspection of the wastewater treatment plant on July 31 and no issues were found.

Up for Auction

Members voted 4-0 to declare surplus for auction a Hewlett Packard C7780B 36-inch plan printer.

The annual municipal auction has been set for Wednesday, Sept. 25, at the Street Department at 1490 Broadway. Viewing starts at 6 p.m., bidding at 7 p.m.

July in Review

In July, Chesterton used 42.55 percent of its 3,668,000 gallon per day (gpd) allotment at the wastewater treatment plant; Porter, 45.27 percent of its 851,000 gpd allotment; the Indian Boundary Conservancy District, 55.70 percent of its 81,000 gpd allotment; and the plant as a whole, 43.89 percent of its capacity.

There were no bypasses in July, with only 0.44 inches of precipitation recorded.

The Utility’s financials for July were not available.


Posted 8/22/2013