WATER WOES: S. Whitley council hears wave of concerns

SOUTH WHITLEY — With the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) requiring all downspouts, roof drains, sump pumps and floor drains prohibited by July 1, South State Street resident Mike Renschler continued to voice his concerns on IDEM’s regulation at Tuesday evenings town council meeting. For approximately 25 years, Renschler has been pumping 60,000 gallons of water a day out of his basement (which is hooked into the town’s sewer line) when the nearby Eel River is high. With extremely dry weather this summer, Renschler said he pumps approximately 1,000 gallons of water each day.Utilities Manager Dennis Eberhart received a quote of $30,000 six weeks ago from Ironclad Services to construct an 8 or 12-inch sway to the Eel River.“How much would it cost for Mike to hook up to the town’s line?” Town Council President Tony Starkey questioned. “You would be expected to pay from your house to the street if we put in a sewer line. It might already be out there and you just need to get it diverted because I don’t know where it ties in.”Starkey said council members need to determine what the town’s obligation is in this situation.“I foresee a problem with frozen rain out to the (South State Street) road in the winter time,” Eberhart said.Project Manager David Harvey with Fleis and Vandenbrink was in attendance and said he stopped by Renschler’s property prior to the meeting to see what effect the highway department has on the property.“It appears the drainage into Renschler’s property that there isn’t that much water coming off the highway,” Harvey said. “His space has two lots that is being drained to his property and that is relatively not a lot of water.”Eberhart intervened stating the water which Renschler is pumping with three sump pumps in his basement on a daily basis goes directly to the waste water treatment plant. “The sump pumps must be removed,” Eberhart said. “Either way, we have to figure something out because we can’t have all that water running.” “I’m a little concerned we are opening up another side of town that could be a boat load,” Starkey said.Due to state regulations, the water must go into the storm water system, into the Eel River, or Renchler’s yard onto the street. With the July 1 deadline quickly approaching, the town could be penalized $500 weekly and Renschler up to $2,500 per day if the sump pumps are not relocated. “We will impose $10 per day on Renschler if the sump drains are not disconnected from the city sanitary sewer by July 1,” Starkey said.Renschler said he will have the pumps disconnected and placed outside of his home before the deadline.Town council members and Renschler plan to brainstorm ideas for the future. Until then, Renschler and the town will not be in violation once the sump pumps are removed from Renscher’s basement.In new business, Eberhart commented on a resident who has a water leaking problem on his side of the curb.“This resident doesn’t understand why the town doesn’t fix it (water leak),” Eberhart said. “We (the town) need a water policy with town verses property owner responsibilities.”