Splash pad hit by sewer backup lacked permits

Traverse City's new $360,000 splash pad, which experienced a sewer backup that rained human waste-contaminated water on five or six children who were playing at the time of the problem, didn't have some permits that typically are needed, officials said.
AP Wire
Jul 4, 2013


Paul Sisson, an environmental engineering specialist with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, gave the city permission to open the Clinch Park splash pad June 27 without a construction permit or state license to operate.

"We were getting some pressure from our front office," Sisson said. "It was political pressure. We were told to see what we could do."

Sisson said, however, about the pressure that: "I don't know who is pushing." The new splash pad — a playground that features sprinklers and fountains — got the OK to open ahead of the National Cherry Festival, a major annual event in the northwestern Lower Peninsula community that's a big draw for tourists.

City planner Russ Soyring said Traverse City also failed to obtain electrical and mechanical permits from Grand Traverse County. The city hopes to reopen the splash pad later this week, Soyring said, but that won't happen until all permits are in hand.

"We put a deadline to have a ribbon-cutting and we wanted the park finished," Soyring said. "I feel it was rushed, they could have used another couple of weeks to finish up the park."

The waterscape, which is considered a public swimming pool because the water recirculates and is filtered, is named for former Michigan Gov. William Milliken.

The splash pad has an overflow drain that connects to the city's sanitary sewer in case of heavy rains. City officials discovered Sunday morning that a sewer pump station failed over the weekend, and sewage backed up and flowed into the 2,000-gallon water reservoir that feeds the park's fountains.

Splash pad tanks typically are engineered to overflow into a storm sewer, Sisson said. The DEQ might have questioned linking the overflow to the sanitary sewer without any check valves to protect the system in case of a sewer backup, Sisson said.

Brett Davis, a landscape architect for park designer Hamilton Anderson Associates, said they chose not to link the splash pad's water overflow system to the storm drains because they didn't want chlorinated water to flow into nearby Grand Traverse Bay.



This is what happens when you have crooked people in your local government. The sad thing is, this EXACT thing keeps happening again and again in Traverse City.

First, they built a brand new sewage plant that did not have proper permits or engineering, and they had to spend millions to fix it.

Then, they rip out a unique attraction; the Spirit of Traverse City steam train, against the overwhelming majority of residents wishes (and they went after anyone who protested it).

Then, they start removing three of the dams on the Boardman River, once again, without proper permits or engineering studies. This resulted in the Brown Bridge Dam failing during removal which not only flooded many homes downstream, but absolutely destroyed the Blue-Ribbon trout stream. The stone stream bed is now all arsenic and mercury contaminated sand and silt. The trout are gone, as well as many other species. They are still working to tear down the other two dams without further engineering.

And now that brings us to this splash pad. Same deal. Did I mention the blueprints and engineering for this park have an artificial stream running through it that actually runs UPHILL according to the prints?

They need to get their crap together up there. They are an embarrassment.


Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on GrandHavenTribune.com? Create a new account today to get started.