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Storm drains tested for illicit discharge

Becky Vargo • Jul 16, 2018 at 11:00 AM

FERRYSBURG — Once every five years, outfall drains are tested around water bodies in the Tri-Cities area. So far, there’s been no illicit discharge found.

This past Thursday, workers from the Lower Grand River Organization of Water Sheds finished conducting tests on the approximately 30 outfalls in the City of Ferrysburg. The organization is part of the Grand Valley Metro Council.

Outfalls are stormwater drains that empty directly into a water body.

Ferrysburg has outfalls into Spring Lake, the Grand River and Lake Michigan (North Beach Park).

“We want to make sure only rain is going down the drain,” said Cara Decker, stormwater program coordinator.

Decker said they also want to emphasize that the stormwater is not treated before it enters the local water bodies, so people “have to be careful about what we leave on our lawns.”

The testing is part of a permit cycle, allowing the communities to drain stormwater into the lakes and rivers. Ferrysburg is currently working off a permit issued in 2003. Obtaining a new permit is a years-long process, Decker said.

Decker noted that they only test the outlets that have water coming out of them, during dry times when no water should be moving through the drains.

Within the past week, they finished outfall inspections for the villages of Fruitport and Spring Lake. They are currently working with the City of Grand Haven to complete those inspections.

The Ferrysburg stormwater progress report was recently updated and may be viewed online at: www.ferrysburg.org/community/storm-water-information/.

Tips about what you can and can’t put on your lawns may be found on the Lower Grand River Organization of Water Sheds website at LGROW.org.

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