Snowmelt system cleared

Alex Doty • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:53 AM

"We were concerned that it might be leaking under there," Grand Haven City Manager Pat McGinnis said. "It was a pipe, but not part of the snowmelt."

City Council authorized last month spending as much as $20,000 for emergency repairs to the snowmelt system. McGinnis said they had just found what looked to be a leak that day when they asked City Council to proceed with the emergency expenditure.

"I had to go to them with the most current details that I had," he said. "In this case, it was a false alarm."

McGinnis said you have to "expect the best, but prepare for the worst" when dealing with situations such as the potential leak.

"We had a big investment in snowmelt and we can't leave it not working," he said.

After a city crew dug up the area around the leak on Harbor Island, they discovered that it wasn't a snowmelt line after all. Instead, the leak was in a line belonging to the Board of Light & Power plant on the island.

"It's something that had been there long before the snowmelt," McGinnis said.

The city's snowmelt system uses hot water pumped from the power plant to the downtown sidewalks.

Mayor Geri McCaleb said she was glad to see that the situation wasn’t as bad as it was first made out to be.

“It gives us more confidence,” she said. “To have a big break that early would be huge.”

Jeff Chandler, director of production for the Board of Light & Power, said the pipe causing water to rise to the surface was from an old dechlorination line. He said the line isn’t used that much anymore.

To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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