Distribution of settlement over NOWS lake intake failure under way

Local municipalities are now approving language regarding a $2.75 million settlement involving a new raw water intake in Lake Michigan nearly nine years after it failed. The city of Grand Haven approved the language unanimously during their meeting on Monday night. Ferrysburg City Council also unanimously approved its terms of the agreement on Monday night.
Alex Doty
Aug 16, 2011

Based on the distribution that is being asked to be approved by all local units of government, $2.75 million will be redistributed between Grand Haven ($681,930.76), Grand Haven Township ($883,936.45), Spring Lake Township ($853,048.26), Ferrysburg ($149,767.68) and Spring Lake ($181,316.85). These funds will cover litigation defense bills and repair of the local water system’s south lake intake.

In February 2001, Ottawa County entered into a contract with Grand Haven, Grand Haven Township, Spring Lake Township, Ferrysburg and Spring Lake to sell bonds in order to finance improvements to the Northwest Ottawa Water System, including construction of the south intake. In June 2001, the county’s Road Commission entered into a contract with Great Lakes Dock & Materials LLC to construct a new water intake, which was completed in September 2002.

In June 2003, the south intake failed when large quantities of sand spilled into the water treatment plant because of large sink holes that formed in a layer of stone above the new intake.

The Road Commission tried to come to an agreement with Great Lakes Dock & Material to repair the intake, but were unsuccessful. This eventually led to a lawsuit, in which Great Lakes Dock & Material sued the Road Commission — triggering several countersuits by the project engineer, Prein & Newhof, and the bonding company, North American Specialty Insurance Co.

The litigation led to a judgment of $3.27 million to the Road Commission — a judgment Great Lakes Dock & Material and North American Specialty Insurance Co. appealed. While the case was in appellate court, the parties eventually reached the current settlement that is now being distributed to the local municipalities.

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

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