VALPARAISO — Porter County is taking steps to counteract a decades-old problem in South Haven with a new program aimed at stormwater management.
The Department of Development and Storm Water Management recently presented the South Haven Sinkhole and Settlement Repair Cost-Share Program to the Storm Water Management Board.
County Engineer Michael Novotney said the program will help homeowners who are trying to address their issues.
"I'm trying to accomplish two things with this program. One is that old South Haven — and really, all of greater South Haven — is unique, and we did not have responsibility for the stormwater infrastructure prior to February 2018," Novotney said. "This program spells out how we're going to move forward, get these issues addressed and get them satisfied under the context of the program."
The program has two phases. The first is for sinkhole/settlements that occurred before March 2018 when the county was not responsible for the damage at that time. The county will fix the problem, "as soon as we're able to," Novotney said.
In those situations, the residents will pay a share of the cost of restoration for areas outside of the drainage easement. Typically, accessory structures like driveways and flower beds should not be in the right of way, but Novotney said the county will look into issues on a case-by-case basis to check on permit statuses.
The other leg of the program is for sinkhole/settlements that occurred after March 2018. Porter County is responsible for the stormwater infrastructure, will fix the underlying problem and is responsible for basic restoration.