Detailed Narrative by LaPorte County Surveyor Tony Hendricks Addressing Concerns Voiced About Meadowview Estates Drainage Project
As happens with any public comment things were said which were half-truths at best. The landowners should have their concerns addressed as it is our duty. It was said there is a 3″ pipe coming from clear lake and pine lake which was shut down because of DNR.
The city of La Porte has a lake drain they built to alleviate floods on Pine lake and its a 36″ pipe (If memory serves me correct) to keep the lakes in La Porte at bay. it was temporarily stopped by DNR because of zebra mussel concerns but since multiple other pipes from other lakes have outlets ultimately into the Kankakee river this was ended.
The pine lake outlet pipe is running and continues to run today. It is generally a siphon pump but can be turned on as a pump when needed. its outlet is the Travis ditch.
it has performed spectacularly as Pine lake has flooded like back in the mid 80’s and the flood zone around Pine Lake has actually been reduced saving landowners tens of thousands of dollars in Flood insurance costs and actual food impacts which in turn rise the property values up and increased tax revenue
There are wetlands and flood plains in and surrounding Kingsbury creek.
This is natural that’s what they do. They utilize the water for environmental uses and flood plains flood. Comments that landowners have land flooding in floodplains is normal. That’s what flood plains do and DNR and FEMA manage and map these flood plains. They get bigger and smaller as more information becomes available over the years. Some farmable ground is inundated and some is not depending on the storm events and ground elevations.
This drain is not just intended for Meadowview and Glendale even though they the ones who are the forefront of the discussion. Over the years the Barr farm south of Glendale and Meadowview is bearing the brunt of these ground waters. This farm field has lost a large amount of tillable ground varying with the years rain events. Also, the county roads in Meadowview and County road 75 have been flooded.
Having county roads flooded is not safe in any place but having County road 75 flooded is even more concerning as it is a highly used access to Kingsbury school.
The pumping of ground water from the foundation perimeter drains (Nova Systems) are impacting the county road in Meadowview and the drainage systems in place for surface storm water for the subdivision. It is these items which makes this project rise to the level of La Porte County alleviating the subsurface storm water in the area.
The farm pond to the south is the major concern as the subsurface groundwater is backing up water onto the surface in this field it is grabbing pollutants it should never come into contact with and potentially polluting the water. if it never backs up and rises to the surface it will then not be able to come into contact with the surface pollutants let alone take away tillable acreage and thus crops from these farm fields.
Laterals are shown on the plan for homeowners to use their pumps and their electricity to draw this groundwater from entering their basements and into this system. if La Porte county had to put in pumps to do this it would be expensive and have ongoing operating costs. Now we cannot control if some homeowner puts grey water through these pumps and into the system so if La Porte County wants to cap these lateral off for now that is an option. We should at least install them so the road does not have to be dug up again. Then homeowners could petition the County to let them connect in at their cost and there will be documentation and oversight about who is pumping into and who is going to be fined if they put anything but subsurface water in there.
There are wetlands on and adjacent to Kingsbury creek and the county will have definitive permits or letters concerning these wetlands and the outlet of this system. if it is determined the outlet needs to be shortened to not outlet into or impact these wetlands that can be done in the contract and filtration can be installed out of the outlet to further protect this water from possibly polluting Kingsbury creek. As it stands now there are roadside ditches not just here but all along Kingsbury creek which outlet directly into without protections.
Kingsbury creek is not a ditch and no one has said its it but it is a mutual drain and is available as such for all watershed property. Just because it is not a ditch it is still a drain. It is not under the control of the Drainage board but Meadowview is an urban drain and its systems are being impacted negatively by this groundwater (subsurface water) It is not for the sole use of adjacent property owners and while this doesn’t seem readily apparent (and to some not acceptable) to adjacent owners all the watershed has been draining to Kingsbury create since it inception with probably the glacial till era of the earth.
The permits will be procured for this project or letters of no permit needed will be received to address each item from all approving authorities, IDEM, DNR, Army Corp, US fish and wildlife etal. This is not up for negotiation and is required. Jay is working on working through those now.
The amount of subsurface water was discussed in the Burke report done by Al Walus and the maximum volume will be determined by subsurface flows to the elevation of the pipe installed. So, nothing deeper that the installed pipe will be carried into the system as water does not rise up against gravity in the subsurface soil. Now the surface water in the area of the Meadowview ponds, the Glendale pond and the Barr farm field pond will retreat as the subsurface water is brought down because the subsurface water is causing these ponds to back up water with no outlet towards Kingsbury creek naturally or the one that was there naturally has been impacted over the years with different obstructions. The flows initially will be greater as soon as the system is in place but will equalize to the normal subsurface flows that naturally occurred. This may bring up an issue if the flows reduce too much and citizens see the outlet volume reduced dramatically and ask why a 30″ pipe was installed. If this happens, we will gratefully accept their criticism of too little flow for the large pipe. The 30″ was chosen not for volume or velocity but for price and slope. The larger the pipe the less slope which was needed to get the depth at its upper end to be deep enough and the economies of scale help with the price of pipe since 30″ is widely used, available and cheaper than other sizes not used in the quantities in the construction world.
The other option to run a pipe to Travis ditch. This is not only exorbitantly expensive but not fair onto have property from one watershed pushing their water to another. Crossing watersheds is never a good idea and permitting authorities only let this happen as last resort. To even ask to have this done speaks volumes about the criticisms from landowners. Will they defend this to landowners of Travis ditch who don’t want water from other watersheds impacting theirs unnaturally. I presume not.
There will be monitoring of the outflows and if needed the system could be shut off. in that thought process if there was a valve installed that may not be out of the question to make it possible to shut this off for any reason. An extra cost would be incurred buts it possible.
Hope this puts perspective into the designs and considerations of this project.