Voice of the
Talk about misplaced priorities!
Item: Chesterton Tribune, July 13 – Jennifer Gadzala, MS4 Storm Water
Operator for the Town of Chesterton, touts “free” taxpayer-funded brochures
that provide information to homeowners to protect the quality of surface
water feeding into Lake Michigan.
Item: Chesterton Tribune, July 18, - The Chesterton Stormwater Management
Board considers a permanent user fee to cover the utility’s costs of the MS4
Item: Chesterton Tribune, July 20, - Chesterton Utility Chief Operator Dick
Condon reports that, because of heavy rain that morning, at least 211,000
gallons of untreated sewage is dumped into the Little Calumet River,
eventually flowing into Lake Michigan.
On Friday, July 14, I telephoned Mr. Condon to inquire on the frequency and
volume of Combined Sewage Overflows (CSO’s) from the Chesterton Treatment
Facility in the past year. Although he said that he didn’t have the numbers
handy, he assured me that he could get them and respond to me the following
Monday. He did mention, however, that I would be “disappointed at the low
figures” that I would be receiving.
Well, needless to say, I never heard back from him, and then I read later
that “at least” 211,000 gallons had bypassed treatment. Yes, I was
disappointed, but not for the reasons that Mr. Condon had in mind.
Other news reports stated that several other sewage plants in the area also
bypassed unknown quantities of raw sewage into tributaries leading to Lake
Michigan. If we can accept the fact that millions of gallons of waste are
discharged into our drinking water supply, why are we so concerned with
runoff from residents’ property? A little dog poop or lawn fertilizer in
storm water runoff is dwarfed by the CSO’s from municipal sewage plants. If
governmental agencies want to attack the problem of polluted stormwater,
they should concentrate on the largest, most egregious sources: CSO’s The
fees they levy should go towards sanitary sewer separation projects and
treatment plant upgrades, instead of publishing brochures. These leaflets
and programs like MS4 are a grand WASTE of taxpayers’ hard-earned money!