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Wheelock & Watkins Drain report released
To view the report from Genesee County go to:http://www.gcdcswm.com/projex_files/BOD/0297/ 0297%20PER%20Dec%202013.pdf

by David Fleet

January 15, 2014

Goodrich-A preliminary engineering report to help rectify significant flooding in the village has been submitted by the Genesee County Drian Commission.

On Monday night the village council discussed the next step in the process that could impact more than 100 residents within the village. Within 30 days a comprehensive list of suggestions from the council addressing the two alternatives for the Wheelock & Watkins Drain will be submitted to the county for consideration.

The Wheelock & Watkins Drain is an agricultural drain, built in 1897 and which encompasses a large section of the village, impacting about 100 residents. The old drain under the jurisdiction of Genesee County has been one possible cause of flooding of several residents' homes over the past few years. The flooding intensified, prompting village officials to engage the county drain officials to investigate the issues.

As a result, last year petitions were signed and in a special meeting on April 9 at the village offices, a board of determination voted 3-0 to move forward with an upgrade to the Wheelock & Watkins Drain. Since then, a study and extensive survey by the engineering firm of Fleis and Vandenbrink of the impacted drain area to provide possible solutions was completed and released in December.

Jim Gerth, from the Genesee County Drain Office, said the process is ongoing.

"The report by Fleis and Vandenbrink gives some preliminary engineering information on the drain project," he said. "The report is put out there for comment by resident, village officials or anyone interested. We then take the comments and sort through the information provided by those interested. Sometimes communities seek a third option, or more work. We ask that responses are within 30 days. It may even be beneficial for the snow to melt and (water) runoff is taken into consideration. The next step is to sit down with the engineers and determine if additional easements may be needed.

Residents along the route are then contacted and easements are granted.

"If everything goes well with obtaining the easments then construction begins," he added. "But it depends on the municipality—everyone is different—there are many variables. Once the final route is decided and an engineering plan is completed, the project will be put out for bids. An assessment district is established to determine costs. In the case of Goodrich there are no county lines, so the costs are divided up between the village and residents along the drain route. The costs are based on the benefits to property, land use, and welfare of the community."

While the final costs are yet to be determined, residents should be aware of the report and respond with questions, he added.

Goodrich Village Administrator Jakki Sidge urged residents to get a copy of the study.

"This is a significant project for the village and impacts about 100 residents, there should also be public hearings where they can express their concerns," she said. "Maps are on the website along with the report."

At a cost of $590,783, the first alternative uses a 48 inch diameter pipe, involves construction near buildings and will require additional easements from landowners than the more costly alternative 2, which costs $721,474. For both alternatives, jacking or boring the 48-inch pipe under Hegel Road was reviewed. However, the cost to jack a 48 inch diameter pipe under Hegel Road is more expensive than open cutting the road and replacing the road after construction of the storm sewer, according to engineers. Also, due to the sanitary sewer crossing along Hegel Road, jacking the pipe will likely be a problem because there is minimal clearance between the sanitary sewer and storm sewer, report engineers. However, if easements cannot be obtained then alternative 2 could be constructed, but at a higher cost.