Shoring up the dune

Grand Haven officials are determined to restore Water Tank Hill, by gush and by gully.
Marie Havenga
Mar 8, 2013

Council members, city staff and members of the city's Environmental Natural Resources Committee met Thursday evening at the site of last weekend's washout to discuss their options.

"There's a wealth of experience in our Environmental Natural Resources Committee,” Public Works Director Bill Hunter said.

Councilman Bob Monetza, who was one of the first on the scene Saturday morning after being alerted to a problem there, said water was just trickling out at that point. The washout occurred Saturday night.

“It's a pretty good mess,” Monetza said. “We're trying to restore it the best we can. It's not going to be simple. It will take some time.”

The 12-inch water main that burst Saturday was part of a 2 million- and 500,000-gallon water tank system that resides at the top of the dune.

Because the site is considered a “critical dune area,” all restoration work will require a state permit. Hunter hopes to have that permit in place by next week.

“Usually when you have a project, you have a lot of time to plan," Hunter said. "This one here, it's kind of shoot from the hip. We want to make sure that what we're doing is sustainable and going to last."

The work will be done from the bottom up.

Hunter said the first step is to replace the 12-inch water main that blasted a canyon-size gully in the side of the hill that rises up from the Mulligan's Hollow landscape behind the YMCA. The next move is to stabilize the hill until such a time when sand can be replaced and planted with dune grass, hemlocks and other native species.

Hunter said the cost is unknown at this point, but he expects it to be over the $100,000 that was discussed at a City Council meeting earlier this week when he requested emergency funds.

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

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