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Temporary pipe work creates concern at Shipshewana West sewer project


The LaGrange County Regional Utility District addressed a complaint received from Shipshewana Lake property owners Robert and Dianne Fiedler at their Wednesday meeting.

The complaint, sent to the district on Tuesday, noted that the Fiedlers had looked at construction done so far on the project and noted that at a point along CR 900W on the east side of the lake, piping was out of the ground at only 5 1/2 feet from the edge of the lake.

The Fiedlers noted that in a previous case, they had pointed out that all pipe had to be a minimum of 10 feet from the water’s edge. In January 2010, the original plans had been revised to put all piping at least 10 feet from the water’s edge by running it under CR 900W.

“The pipe that has been installed so far immediately north of the overflow on CR 900W has the entrance at each end alongside the road, rather than under the road as called for in the blueprints, leading me to surmise the line has been installed next to the road, rather than under the road as specified in the blueprints,” the letter stated.

The Fiedlers concluded the letter asking for a response from the district indicating how it would address the issue.

Project engineer Steve Henschen addressed the board, explaining that what the Fiedlers observed were two stub pipes that, due to the directional drilling, had to be brought above the surface. Henschen noted that the contractor decided to bring the pipes up along the side of the road, as opposed to in the middle of the road, where the pipe is actually being installed. Excavation work will be done later in the roadway to connect the ends of the piping, at which time, the temporary pipe will be removed.

“We can’t take the pipe to the other side of the road due to fiber optic and telephone lines,” Henschen explained. “Their assumption is that the pipe off to the side means all of the piping is there.” Henschen told the board that the contractor is installing the pipe under the road and at a distance of at least 10 feet from the top bank of the lake, rather than from the edge of the water.

As the letter had also been forwarded to the EPA, IDEM, IDNR, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, LaGrange County Health Department and the USDA, the board asked what action needed to be taken.

The district’s legal counsel, John Gastineau, told the board that Henschen had already spoken to the EPA and they will be contacting IDEM to invite them to look at the project.  “We have been as transparent about this as I know how to be,” Gastineau added.

In other business:

The board approved a pay request for the Shipshewana West project of $295,605. The current request puts the amount paid out at just under 50 percent of the project cost. “I expect the next two claims to be substantial,” Henschen told the board, noting that there is a lag between the work that is done and the pay requests.

Henschen told the board that an updated schedule from the contractor shows a completion date of October 29. However, it was noted that the district would still need two weeks to test the grinder pumps, which would put it very tight to the November 14 substantial completion date indicated in the contract.