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Methane gas and other projects proceed in Munster

2012-10-19T00:00:00Z Methane gas and other projects proceed in MunsterBy Tom DeGiulio Times Columnist nwitimes.com
October 19, 2012 12:00 am  • 

After many years of planning, the Town of Munster is ready this month to turn the methane produced in the closed landfill, now Centennial Park, into a full-time energy generating operation.

Over the next few weeks, Energy Systems Group of Newburgh, will be commissioning the new equipment installed adjacent to the Centennial Park maintenance garage on Calumet Avenue.

The Town Council, U.S. Rep. Peter Visclosky and others will celebrate the beginning of the generation of power into NIPSCO’s electric grid Monday. Congressman Visclosky and U.S. Senator Richard Lugar were instrumental in securing the $2.9 million grant that helped fund this important project.

Not only will the generation of power help the environment by eliminating the constant burning of  methane into the atmosphere, it will begin to generate significant revenue to help with expenses in the parks and street operations.

The plan is to use the revenue from the generation of electricity to pay for power consumption at Centennial Park and Community Park, and assist with the cost of the town's 1,200+ street lights.

This generation project will continue for at least 20 years. The elimination of these energy expenses will allow the Town Council to keep providing services to residents within the frozen tax rate and declining revenues.

The Town Council in recent months completed a four-year, $2 million dollar capital acquisition program to equip all storm and sanitary lift and pump stations with Emergency Stand-by Generators. The last generator that will be installed is at the large Cal–Munster station at the Little Calumet River, within the next 4-6 months.

This critical station pumps or re-pumps storm and sanitary waste water for almost 40 percent of the community. These generators will provide another level of safety for all residents to help prevent flooding due to power outages.

The town and the City of Hammond have been working jointly to petition the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide long-awaited relief to residents and businesses whose properties are located in the Little Cal Flood Plain. This project is moving towards a conclusion.

On Oct. 10, we received notification that our joint application has been approved. The effective date is March 1, 2013. The reason for the delay is a FEMA required appeal process instituted in 2011.

The second Hammond and Munster project is the modification of the Northcote Bridge. The two communities, along with the Hammond Sanitary District, have worked to secure permits for this flood protection measure. A bid letting date has not been established, but is anticipated to be late fall or early winter.

Centennial Park Golf Course guests had played almost 15,000 rounds by the end of September. Memberships for 2013 are on sale now - buy now and play free for the rest of 2012. We have several new membership categories, including family plans. Call the Pro Shop at (219) 836-6931 for details.

Tom DeGiulio is the town manager of Munster. The opinions expressed are his own. He can be reached at tdegiulio@munster.org.

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