Chesterton Tribune


Utility Service Board hasn't yet decided how to finance long term control plan

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Exactly what mechanism will be used to finance the Chesterton Utility’s $14.9 million long term control (LTCP) plan to reduce combined sewer overflows into the Little Calumet River during heavy rain events.

Currently the Utility has applied for a low-interest loan through the State Revolving Fund but it’s also possible that a bond will be issued.

To that end, the Utility Service Board at its meeting on Monday voted to retain Shanahan & Shanahan as its bond counsel, at a price not to exceed $40,000.

The LTCP’s lynch pin is a 1.2-million gallon storage tank into which excess stormwater will be directed and stored during heavy rainfalls, until the wastewater treatment plan has had a chance to catch up. The tank and associated improvements are expected to cost $14.9 million. A sanitary sewer rate hike of around 6 percent—enacted specifically to defray the cost of the LTCP—took effect on Jan. 1. Under that hike, the average household’s bimonthly bill will increase from $76.80 to $81.26, an increase of $4.46 or $2.23 per month.

Meanwhile, Mark Nye of DLZ, the LTCP’s contracted engineering consultant, reported that he has submitted revisions and amendments to a preliminary engineering plan for the project, as requested by the State Revolving Fund Loan (SRF) Program authority.

That PER includes a number of components which could qualify for the SRF “Green Project Reserve,” under which demonstrable energy savings achieved through retrofits would make the Utility eligible for a lower interest rate on any SRF-issued loan, Nye said.


In 2012, Chesterton used 40.18 percent of its 3,668,000 gallon per day (gpd) allotment of the wastewater treatment plant (47 percent in 2011); Porter, 46.19 percent of its 851,000 gpd allotment 65 percent in 2011); the Indian Boundary Conservancy District, 54.79 percent of its 81,000 gpd allotment (71 percent in 2011); and the plant as a whole, 41.62 percent of its capacity (51 percent in 2011).

In a year which saw 31.61 inches of precipitation (47 inches in 2011), there was only one month—July—in which a bypass of sewage into the Little Calumet River was recorded. July was by far the wettest month of the year, with 5.7 inches of rain, compared to the next wettest month, May, with 2.73 inches of rain.

In July a total of 65,074 gallons of sewage was bypassed, compared to total bypasses in 2011 of 3.574 million gallons, a decrease in total bypass gallonage of 98 percent.

The plant treated a total of 700,688,000 gallons of wastewater last year, compared to 852,400,000 gallons in 2011, a decrease in total treatment gallonage of around 18 percent.


In other business, Superintendent Rob Lovell told the Service Board that he is currently investigating the purchase of an-terrain vehicle or quad, for use in the field.

Lovell said that the idea of the vehicle is make remote sites more accessible, especially now in the winter, and that it would need to be capable of climbing snowy or icy grades.

Election of Officers

By 4-0 votes, members re-elected Member Larry Brandt to the presidency and Member Scot McCord to the vice-presidency and re-appointed the law firm of Harris Welsh & Lukmann as the Service Board’s legal counsel.

Next Meeting

Members also voted to change the date of their next meeting to Tuesday, Feb. 19. The usual meeting day—the third Monday of the month, Monday, Feb. 18—is a federal holiday observed by the town, Presidents’ Day.


McCord and Member Andy Michel took a moment at the end of the meeting to express their sympathies to the family of Dr. John E. Read, who died on Saturday at 84.

“He did a lot for the community,” McCord said. “It’s a shame he had to go. He was a good guy.”


Posted 1/23/2013