1,500 pound steel pilings are being driven into the sand at Long Beach for new seawalls to protect seven homes threatened by a high Lake Michigan washing up closer to doorsteps.
At least one house was shored up by placing steel pilings and concrete under the partially undermined foundation.
“We’re just repairing and saving the houses,” said Tony Lindquist with JCI Bridge Group out of LaPorte.
At least ten homes were recently ordered to disconnect from septic tanks because of the advancing waters.
Those tanks will have to be pumped instead of the waste percolating into the soil.
“Their systems are in jeopardy of falling in, have already fallen or will be compromised,” said Amanda Lahners, supervisor of the environmental health, foods and water laboratory divisions of the LaPorte County Health Department.
The emergency steps along Lakeshore Drive are from lack of ice cover from a mild winter allowing waves during severe storms to crash into the eroded shoreline.
The new seawalls are replacing ones that failed during recent storms.
Larry Wall, the building commissioner for the town, said the new seawalls will be able to better withstand the forces of Mother Nature from pilings driven into the ground deeper than the ones they’re replacing.
They were also designed for better drainage to keep sand in the waves crashing over them from piling up behind the walls and the weight causing them to bow.
Regardless, he said the fix is only buying time until hopefully water levels start going back down again.
“It’s temporary. We don’t know if this high lake level is the new norm,” he said.