By Jon Gaskell
Holt Journal staff writer
On Oct. 18, Delhi Township trustees considered plans to upgrade stormwater drains in Holt.
Representatives from the Ingham County Drain Commissioner’s office asked the township to consider consolidating Holt drains during a presentation in front of a Township Committee of the Whole meeting.
At issue is a section of the Branch 4 drain that Deputy Ingham County Drain Commissioner Carla Clos said can’t handle the amount of stormwater runoff in areas near the crossroads of Aurelius Avenue and Holt Road.
Residents in the area have experienced flooded basements and property damage as a result of the outdated stormwater drainage system. When eight inches of rain fell over a two-day span last July, several homes on Burton Avenue and Phillips Avenue sustained damage.
Holt residents of neighborhoods affected by flooding spoke in support of the project.
“They call it a hundred-year event … we see that flooding every year,” said Holt resident Christina Oudsema “They (the Drain Commission) said they can’t help us if the drains are working properly… if there is no place for the water to drain, how is that working properly?”
Clos said nothing can be done until Delhi Township votes to look into the project, “The most frustrating part of the drain code is we can’t move forward without a petition from either the road commission or residents of the township.”
Delhi Township Director of Public Services Sandra Diorka said that after the township petitions for consolidation, an independent panel will be called for a “need and necessity hearing” to determine the project’s viability.
Diorka said that the flooding is occurring in small “sub-watersheds” near Aurelius Road. Each of these areas has experienced significant flooding but if the Drain Commission dealt with each one individually, the cost of a special assessment per resident would be too high.
Instead, Delhi Township is looking into consolidating the sub-watersheds into one system that feeds into an upgraded branch drain, thereby spreading the cost of the project to more benefitted properties.
“Rather than a person on Burton paying $7,000 all of middle Holt pays $1,000” each, said Hayhoe.
When asked by Township Trustee Derek Bajema to provide a rough estimate of the cost of the project, Clos said the Drain Commission wouldn’t know until the assessment is complete but that, whatever the cost, overhaul of the drain system would save money in the long run.
“Consolidating the drains allows us to be as efficient and cost effective as can be,” Said Clos.
Township Trustee John Hayhoe agreed that the project could be worth the cost, suggesting that if the problem isn’t fixed, residents from other neighborhoods “will be in here next when their drains start flooding.”
The committee plans to hold a vote on whether to proceed with the project during the next committee meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 1.
View Holt Flooding in a larger map