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Deep River-Portage Burns TMDL & Baseline Study


The Deep River–Portage Burns Watershed is located in northwestern Indiana, draining approximately 180 square miles from Lake and Porter counties into Lake Michigan. Major waterbodies included in the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report are Deep River, Deer Creek, Duck Creek, Lake George, Main Beaver Dam Ditch, Niles Ditch, Smith Ditch, Sprout Ditch, Turkey Creek, Burns Ditch, and Willow Creek.


A preliminary survey of the Deep River-Portage Burns Watershed was conducted by Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) in 2010 through its probabilistic sampling program. Impairments include dissolved oxygen, E. coli, biotic communities, PCB in fish, total mercury, and siltation. Potential pollution sources in the watershed include nonpoint sources from agriculture and pastures, land application of manure and urban and rural run-off, as well as point sources from straight pipe discharges, home sewage treatment system disposal, municipal separate storm sewer system communities, and combined sewer overflow outlets.

Parameters to be Addressed

IDEM will complete a comprehensive sampling program in the watershed that will be based on the current impairments. Approximately 35 sites will be assessed for general chemistry, nutrients, habitat, fish and macroinvertebrate communities, and stream flow. For a comprehensive list of all parameters please reference the approved work plan.

IDEM started the E. coli geometric mean sampling, 5 weekly samples, September 2, 2013. If necessary, the geometric mean monitoring will include 10:1 sample dilutions based upon IDEM’s E. coli monitoring SOP. See Page 74 of 327 IAC 2-1.5-8(e)(3) for more information on the use of geometric mean for E. coli calculations.


Two TMDL public kickoff meetings will be held on March 13, 2013. The first meeting will be held at 2:00 PM (CDT) at the Lake County SWCD & Extension Offices, 880 E. 99th Ct., Suite A, Crown Point, IN 46307. The second kickoff meeting will be held at 6:00 PM (CDT) at the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk, Riverwalk Drive Portage, IN 46368. Both meetings will cover the same topics.

A Deep River Monitoring Field Day will be held on October 23, 2013 from 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM (CDT). The event will be held at Deep River County Park, 9410 Old Lincoln Highway, Hobart, Indiana 46342. At this event, participants will learn more about sampling methods from IDEM, USGS, and Hoosier Riverwatch staff. Field procedures for fish & macroinvertebrate collection, habitat assessment and water chemistry will be demonstrated. Space is limited to 30 participants. RSVP to Joe Exl at NIRPC, (219) 763-6060. November 7, 2013 is the backup date for this event in case of rain.


The Deep River TMDL Interim Public meeting will be held on December 5, 2013 from 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM (CST). This meeting will be held at the Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District, 880 E. 99th Ct, Suite A, Crown Point, Indiana 46307. At this meeting IDEM staff will discuss the 2013 recreation sampling season and results. IDEM staff will also address any questions the public has regarding the TMDL process to date.

The Draft TMDL Meeting was held July 14, 2014 at 2:00 PM. The meeting was held at Hobart Community Center, 111 E. Old Ridge Rd., Hobart, IN 46342

The 30-day public comment period from July 14, 2014 to August 14, 2014 will follow the Draft TMDL Meeting.

U.S. EPA approved the TMDL [PDF] on 09/26/2014.

The TMDL Report

Baseline Project 2013-2014

For questions or additional information, please contact the TMDL Senior Project Manager.

Supplemental Information