By Ashley Gibbard
Holt Journal staff reporter
Holt residents Bill and Linda Evans were tired of their basement flooding every time there was a storm.
“Every time it would storm it would cost us at least $500 to have water removed from our basement,” Bill Evans said. “Plus we would have to replace anything that the water ruined.”
Those days may be in the past. In the spring of 2015, Delhi Township completed the Green #4 Consolidated Drain Project, a project three years in the making according to Delhi Township Supervisor C.J. Davis.
“This project started the day I took office,” Davis said. “But it wasn’t a township project.”
“What most people are unaware of is that the homeowners own the drains,” he said. “The taxes they pay to us go to basic maintenance, but if there is a big problem, that’s on them.”
“What finally happened was the town petitioned for the new system and that’s when the drain commissioner’s office got involved. Initially the project cost $25 million. We as a township decided we would work with the commissioner’s office, unlike other townships,” said Davis.
“We were able to lower the cost of the project to $5 million and leave homeowners with a reasonable fee,” he said. “That was one of the most satisfying moments for me since I’ve been in office.”
According to Davis it also improved the outward appearance of the community.
“It prevents flooding better than our old system as well as gave us a chance to lay new asphalt on roads and driveways, reseed some grassy areas and construct new sidewalks, which also make our community more appealing and raises property values,” he said.
Initially the project was a lot larger, but Angie Cosman, the project coordinator, and James Ensign, the project engineer, were able to condense the system.
“Originally the Green #4 Consolidated Drain was part of seven different drains, some of these drains dating back more than a century,” Cosman said. “The flooding was happening because all of the drains were emptying into the same pond in the middle of town where a lot homes and businesses are.”
“We were able to consolidate the system by adding three miles of pipe and making the system low impact. The system now collects storm water runoff in Delhi Charter Township and routes it along Holt Road, through the Holt Shopping Center along Cedar Street and up several smaller streets like Burton and Adelpha Avenue. The system then outlets into different bodies of water and vegetation areas at Park Lane
and Bond Avenue. It makes the system much more organized.”
Ruth Kline-Robach, an outreach specialist with the Department of Community Sustainability and the MSU Institute of Water Research, said that flooding and sewage systems are a problem all over Michigan.
“Because Michigan was once a wetland and now we just keep on building it up without vegetation to soak in some of the water, the drainage systems can’t handle the large amount of flow,” Robach said. “Plus the water quality decreases the more it runs through pipes. With types of soil infiltration it will go through treatment.”
Bill and Linda Evans appreciate the new system as well.
“Our basement doesn’t flood anymore,” Linda Evanssaid.