I'd like to clarify and expand on some of the comments in the article related to the Mill Race.
The pipe that broke leading to the sinkhole on the Christie property did so because of sediment build up that washed in from the streets. The hardness of our water here added deposits that eventually caused the pipe to be unable to manage the flow entering it and it broke. This is what happens at your house, sans the sediment, as a result of hard water.
This could have been prevented if proper protections were introduced early enough. I warned the then city council members that same issue will eventually present itself, albeit possibly in a different manner if they installed the pipe the way they did without installing the protections that are available. They ignored me and now we have an issue.
The Stormwater permit that the City holds requires a 25% reduction of sediment discharged into the system and currently the efforts are nothing more than a pencil pushing exercise. There are cost effective products on the market that can help reduce the amount of sediment that enters the system. Look up Dandy products and Silt Savers to familiarize yourself with a few.
However, there is another way to address the sediment and the current issue, that is also much more cost effective, not to mention beautiful. Daylight the pipe.
With the proper permissions, a tiered, cascading waterfall with an infiltration based that is reinforced by geotextiles for stability, can be installed. Lined with native flowering plants, whose roots additionally add stability, the flowing water would also pick up oxygen for a healthier river habitat, while dropping out sediment before it enters the mill race. The native flowers are not only beautiful, but add to the habitat created by the rain garden in Depot park.
This could be amended with terraced grass pavers and pic nic tables. Add in a few fruit bearing plants and trees and you create an oasis. The additions could be added in over time so the cost would be spread out. And the design, installation and maintenance would all be more cost effective for the city and its tax payers. Oh, and did i mention that there are many local experts that I am certain would be delighted in helping? This would create work for many locals.
In addition, if the City were to partner with local universities and the school district, possibly even the township, and use this as an outreach and education opportunity in partial fulfillment of their requirements under their stormwater permit, (which the township and school district also have) It would benefit them all and they might even be eligible for funding, since this is what is being promoted by the Federal EPA and the State DEQ, not to mention SEMCOG. Oh, and the International Commission on the Great Lakes too.
The City is planning on using outmoded methods without the consideration of newer, less expensive, more river friendly approaches. If the public is interested in a better way to do things that contributes to place-making while saving their hard earned tax dollars, I encourage you to speak up.
Tammie j Heazlit
March 21, 2014