CROWN POINT | The Lake County Drainage Board is expected to open public discussion Wednesday on an eventual plan to connect the homes of 200 residents of the Hermits Lake and Hawthorn Hills subdivisions to this city's sewer system.
Dan Gardner, the clean water coordinator for the county surveyor's office, said Tuesday he will discuss the early stages of an effort by County Surveyor George Van Til, County Commissioner Gerry Scheub, D-Crown Point, and Crown Point Mayor David Uran to approach U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville, for the money needed.
The two rural subdivisions, several miles southwest of the city, have been polluting south county waterways since the late 1950s. The state repeatedly cited the Hermits Lake developer, who ran a small, private treatment plant, with dumping raw or poorly treated sewage into Foss Ditch, a waterway that drains south into the communities of Lake Dalecarlia and Lowell.
The Lake County commissioners took over the troubled Hermits Lake sewage plant 20 years ago and have been eager to dump it ever since because of the constant cost of repairs. The county budgeted $285,000 in maintenance and operational costs last year.
County officials have urged the city of Crown Point in the past to take over, but no one has been able to secure the millions of dollars needed to extend city sewage collection tiles outside city's limits to the homes or to upgrade the city's treatment plant to accept the additional wastewater.
Gardner said, "The county has had several successful drainage projects like Ranburn Woods and Schererville Heights. Commissioner Scheub wants to work this out, too. But we are in the early coordination and we have to get support together before we approach Congressman Visclosky and the Corps of Engineers."
He said the city's Board of Public Works may consider a resolution as early as next week supporting action on the problem.