MAILBAG: Where does beach asphalt debris come from?

Mary Jo of Grand Haven asked about the broken asphalt she's found on the Grand Haven State Park beach. "I found a piece today with part of the yellow line still painted on it."
Mark Brooky
Oct 26, 2012

 

r beautiful beach that it is not pleasant to walk in the sand. It is most abundant in the state park area and is completely nonexistent past the City Beach, which means they dump just past the channel. I found a piece today with part of the yellow line still painted on it, so it is definitely from broken road pieces. In addition, the oil used to make asphalt can seep out into the water (a cause for the now common black sand?)."

ANSWER:

The source may be closer than you think.

Joyce Rhodes, supervisor of the Grand Haven State Park, said the asphalt seen on the beach could be a result of the park's crumbling parking lot and roadways.

"Each spring, we move sand that was blown into the parking lot back to the beach," she explained. "This past year, chunks of asphalt were picked up with the sand and deposited on the beach."

In an attempt to remove all of the material, the park held six organized beach clean-up projects over the summer, with the help of more than 100 volunteers to assist park staff.

"We also mechanically cleaned the beach once or twice a week with our park beach cleaner and tractor, since more kept coming to the surface throughout the summer," Rhodes said.

The plan for next year is to have all the sand on the state park's parking lot removed in the spring to avoid the deposit of asphalt on the beach. Efforts will also continue with volunteers cleaning up the beach by hand, as well as the park's beach cleaner.

"All park users are encouraged to assist with the effort by dumping what they find while in the park into one of the parks trash receptacles," Rhodes added.

Rhodes suggested contacting the state Department of Environmental Quality on whether anything can be “dumped” into the lake. However, I'm sure state law prohibits that kind of activity. If you see that happening, alert the authorities.

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Comments

43°North

Unfortunately, the wonderful 'singing sand' is long gone from GH ST Park beach & GH City beach. Both beaches are drowned by asphalt/blown sand every spring, covering over the amazing sand Grand Haven was once famous for. Looking at the 'sand' on this past windy Wednesday, there was more gravel & large asphalt chunks on the beach than sand, as the real sand blew into the river... BTW, The sand still sings at Hoffmaster ST park where they never dump anything.

Tri-cities realist

Wow; talk about ignorance on display. Yep, the DEQ allows asphalt companies to dump chunks of asphalt, but only right in front of the state park, but not in front of the city beach. And I have a bridge AND a swamp to sell you. I can't believe that Mr. Brooky didn't verbally insult the ignorance that MaryJo displayed. He has much more patience for ignorance than I do. "Joyce Rhodes, supervisor of the Grand Haven State Park, said the asphalt seen on the beach could be a result of the park's crumbling parking lot and roadways." COULD be? Ms. Rhodes, how about using the word "is"? And she is the supervisor? But I'm sure she is instructed not to mention that the source IS from the state parks asphalt. Unbelievable.

 

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