GRIFFITH | The Town Council on Tuesday received an earful from residents weary of trucks filled with water barreling down their streets.
The complaints ranged from anger at not being told in advance of the 24-hour traffic to requests for the trucks to use different routes at night.
The situation began with a federally required pressure test of an Enbridge Energy Company pipeline between Wisconsin and Griffith, said Jennifer Smith of Enbridge public affairs.
Smith, who lives in Griffith and sits on the Plan Commission, said the treated water now is in storage tanks at the Enbridge facility on Main Street. Federal regulations require that it be returned to the Great Lakes from which it originated.
The only feasible way was to hire a trucking firm to haul it from the tanks to a facility in Gary that will transfer it into Lake Michigan, Smith said.
"We have 29 million gallons of water that we need to move."
It is being moved at the rate of 100 trucks every 12 hours and the firm hopes to have it all moved by the end of the month, she said.
Residents along North Cline Avenue are angry that they were informed of the project on Sept. 12 — a day after the hauling began.
"My main problem is the lack of communication," said resident Susan Nowlin. "We were never advised of the magnitude of the truck traffic."
Council Vice President Rick Ryfa, R-3rd, said the town only learned a couple weeks ago about the project. While it offered to publicize the upcoming traffic, Enbridge said it would do so, Ryfa said.
However, the firm did not go door to door to the residents until after the operation had already started.
Other residents, complaining about the constant truck noise through the night, asked if the nighttime routes could be diverted to Colfax Avenue, Broad Street, Kennedy Avenue or Indianapolis Boulevard.
But Smith and the council noted that the chosen route was deemed as the best one to take. The trucks leave Enbridge on Main, travel Cline to U.S. 20 into Gary.
"I just hope this doesn't happen again," said resident Kathy Baxter. She spoke of the danger it presents to children and elderly people.
Smith assured that no tests are planned for the other pipelines.
In the meantime, the council credited Enbridge for offering, in advance, to give the town $775,000 to pay for any road resurfacing that might be necessary.
"Enbridge came to us and offered (the money) and we accepted their offer," said Council President Glen Gaby, R-1.
Ryfa said the council apologizes for the communications glitch from Enbridge to the residents.
"If we had to do it again, the town would have made those contacts and tackle everything up front as we always have."