Dune fix adds up

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:18 PM

“It sounded like Tahquamenon Falls,” Grand Haven Public Works Director Bill Hunter said.

Grand Haven’s own “Sandy” event at Mulligan’s Hollow will cost the city close to $100,000. That’s the amount Hunter requested in emergency funds during a debriefing session Monday afternoon at Grand Haven City Hall.

“Stuff happens and you’ve got to fix it,” Mayor Geri McCaleb said. “Things break. It’s an almost 100-year-old pipe.”

Assistant City Manager Sam Janson said the city's insurance policy will not cover the cost of the pipe replacement, but it might cover the cost of dune restoration.

Councilman Bob Monetza said he received an e-mail concerning a possible problem at the hill overlooking Mulligan’s Hollow on Friday. On Saturday morning, he received a frantic message that urged him to get out to the hill.

Monetza and City Manager Pat McGinnis went to the hill about 10:30 a.m. Saturday and saw water seeping out of it. At that point, the water flow was no more than 10-20 gallons per minute, Monetza said.

Hunter checked city records to find the location of the valves at the hill to see where the leak could be isolated. Hunter said he discovered that the valves were “ancient,” and that they would likely break if they tried to turn them.

The public works staff decided then to do a valve insert, but the city-owned inserter could not handle a 12-inch pipe. An outside company was contacted on Sunday for the job.

In the meantime, the sand slid out beneath the pipe at the top of the hill and the pipe broke loose about 8:15 Saturday night, Hunter said. A massive amount of soaked sand slid down the hill, took out the road and filled the gully below up to 14 feet high.

“It was like a lava flow,” McCaleb said.

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

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