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2021 Waste Water Update – April

From the Desk of Waste Water Superintendent Sean Neeley

Hello Shipshewana, from Sean Neeley, your Waste Water Superintendent.

With the warmer weather comes a slew of projects for our little town.  Along with any growth comes some growing pains.  I know it is a bummer, with the slower traffic and signs and flags all over the place including our yards, but if we want nice roads, new water and sewer lines, and good flowing storm drainage this is something that we just have to deal with.  Hopefully, we have a nice summer with cooperative weather so the guys and gals that are doing the construction can get things done in a safe and timely manner.  This way things can get back to “normal” quicker, with hopefully as little growing pains as possible.

There are two things that are going to be taking place a lot this summer that I would like to discuss.  Both of them deal with wastewater, water, and storm drainage.  With a little help from you hopefully these projects can run along timely and smoothly.

Number 1. Marker Flags

When someone calls into 811 to have the underground utilities located, a series of events happens.  Firstly, 811 is like a dispatch center.  The 811 rep takes the locate order from the caller, noting the type of work to be done, and where the work is to be done.  811 then generates a ticket with all the information on it.  This includes the caller’s name and number, job description, and length of time needed to complete to job.  This ticket is then distributed out to all the branches of utilities that may be underground in the area of the ticket.  This can include utilities such as power, gas, phone, fiber, internet connection, water, sewer, and storm.  Then the utilities send out reps to locate their utilities.  They mostly do this by marking the ground with colored flags and paint.  The flags and paint tell the ticket holder where the utilities are underground.  So, if you as a property owner call into 811 because you want to plant trees in your yard.  You will know where it is and isn’t safe to plant your trees without damaging any utilities while you dig, or in the future when your trees get bigger.

Here is some helpful information to have on hand before you call into 811.

  1. Address or Street Intersection, and nearest intersecting road.
  2. Closest Town, County, and Township where the work will take place.
  3. Type of work to be done.  How deep will you be digging?  How will you be digging such as boring, blasting, hand digging, or machine digging.
  4. Where in the property you will be digging?  They may ask you to place a white flag or white paint where you want to dig.
  5. How long it will take you to complete the job.
  6. Contact Name and phone number.
  7. Once the ticket is complete, you will need to give the people locating two (2) working days to come and locate the job site.

Now that you have had your yard located, let us go over the different colors and what they mean to you.

  1. Red- Electric
  2. Yellow- Gas, oil, or petroleum
  3. Orange- Communications
  4. Blue- Clean potable Water
  5. Purple- Reclaimed Water such as Irrigation
  6. Green- Sewer or Storm drainage
  7. White- Proposed job or placement of object such as a tree or a sign
  8. Pink- Temporary Survey

Now if you come home and see these flags or paint in your yard you will know what they mean.  Even if you did not call in a locate for your property and you find that your road frontage has been located, someone did.  Please leave these flags where they are.  If you pull them before the job has been completed there is a good chance that a utility line will be damaged when the work eventually gets to your property.

The Town of Shipshewana is having a lot of fiber internet coming into town now and throughout the summer months.  This work will be bored in underground over long distances.  Even if you do not see equipment in your yard, it does not mean that the boring head is not traveling through your yard.  The people operating the boring equipment need to know where your utilities are.  Most 811 tickets are good for two (2) weeks.  So, from the first day you see that your property has been located give it two weeks before you pull any flags.  Most jobbers will pull the flags once they are done with the jobs, but sometimes that does not happen, and they leave them in place.  I know it is a pain to mow around, but please give it at least two weeks before pulling any flags.  If you do pull the flags and a utility is damaged, by the time the line or pipe is fixed your yard my just resemble the Grand Canyon.  So, it is just a good idea to give it some time.  Let the workers finish their job, and then pull the flags if they have not been pulled already.

Number 2: Town Locating Town Owned Utilities

We have been working towards GPS locating all the town’s utilities over the past few months.  We have accomplished a lot done over a short time, but there is still a lot to do and get done.  This process will help with finding these utilities when other work needs to be done around them, or in case of an emergency such as a water leak.  It will also aid in finding utilities when the are covered by soil or snow.

If you see someone in a yellow vest poking around by the road in your yard, look to see if there is a Shipshewana utilities truck parked nearby.  We may be looking for a buried curb stop, or manhole that you yourself may not know exists in your front yard. Please feel free to approach us and ask us what is going on.  We will be more than happy to explain what we are doing.  If we find something that happens to be buried in your yard, we will take care to make as small of a hole as possible and replace the grass plug to try and make it look like we were not even there.  Please try and understand some of the things we are looking for are metal, and we will be using metal detectors.  As most of the land around here used to be farmland, there is a good chance that what we found may be an old nail or possibly an old piece of fencing.  We need to dig down and identify what we are mapping is correct.  Trust me, we do not want to dig in your yard.  I wish we could find what we are looking for immediately and move on to find the next thing on the list.

Please understand we are trying to grow and improve as a Town.  Sometimes growing involves inconveniences, but with a little bit of patience and understanding we will get through it as quickly and painlessly as possible.  I am looking forward to seeing you all this summer.

Sean Neeley
Waste Water Superintendent
Town of Shipshewana