During their first season in 2002, the Gary, Indiana South Shore Railcats, refined the art of bus riding. Without a home stadium, Railcats players logged more than 12,000 miles, until their 108-day journey ended in September at their new multi-million dollar 6,000 seat stadium.
The 20-acre site that Gary city officials chose for the stadium was ideally located, but the city’s engineers were challenged with treating the site’s stormwater runoff. There was no storm sewer within several thousand feet and the city’s sewer system was already strained. Instead of cutting corners, Gary city officials decided on an approach that would anticipate the regulatory requirements of National Pollution Discharge Elimination System Phase II and help protect the nearby Grand Culumet River.
“NPDES Phase II is about to be imposed on most municipalities, and the Gary Sanitary District was really interested in being forward thinking regarding those regulations,” said Jay Niec, of Greeley and Hansen, LLC, a consulting engineer for the city. “Rather than wait for the regulations, we decided to look at different technologies that would mitigate the pollutants entering the combined sewer system.”
Working with Greeley and Hansen, DLZ Indiana, LLC, designed a stormwater treatment solution that combined two Vortechs® Systems with an exfiltration system to achieve the city’s goal of cleaning the water. “In our area, the soil is very sandy. The permeability of the soil allowed us to use an exfiltration system,” said Niec. “We knew that it would eventually become plugged with grease, solids and sands over time. To make the exfiltration system last as long as possible, we looked at different types of stormwater oil and water separators. We really liked the Vortechs the best. The design allowed us to connect right to the solid pipe system that delivered water from the catch basins.” Stormwater from two parking lots runs through one of two Vortechs Systems – a model 7000 and a model 11000. The treated water is then sent to series of underground, perforated pipes embedded in a stone trench. In all but the most severe storm events, the water exfiltrates into the ground, bypassing the combined sewer system altogether.
According to Niec, “The system should operate effectively for years to come if properly maintained.”