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
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
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.
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.
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.”