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Replacement of sewer force main underway

Alexander Sinn • Feb 13, 2019 at 12:00 PM

The first phase of the Grand Haven/Spring Lake Sewer Authority’s infrastructure overhaul is underway in Grand Haven.

Beechtree Street is currently closed north of Fulton Avenue to the dead-end as crews prepare to replace the force main beneath the Grand River. 

The existing pipe was installed in 1972, according to Wastewater Treatment Plant Superintendent Dave Krohn, and reaching its life expectancy. A small leak occurred in it three years ago.

Contractors will drill about 50-60 feet beneath the surface of the river, Krohn explained, starting on the north side. Sections of 16-inch-thick pipe will be assembled, then pulled through the drill hole on the north side of the river.

The procedure will be an “educational experience” for the Sewer Authority, Krohn said, as this is the first-ever replacement of the line.

The drilling will cost $2.3 million toward the $13.4 million project, which will entail a new headworks system at the treatment plant in Grand Haven, while pump stations serving Spring Lake and Ferrysburg will be upgraded.

Grand Haven Public Works Director Derek Gajdos said businesses on North Beechtree Street have found alternative driving routes during the road closure.

In March, Beechtree Street from Fulton to Columbus avenues will be closed to install new piping beneath Beechtree. This will require about a two-month closure, Gajdos said. That portion of the project will cost $960,000.

The new headworks and renovation of the treatment plant will increase capacity for the system, Krohn said.

“We’re building for the future,” he said. “We’re looking to be in good shape for the next 40, 50 years.”

The project is financed through Ottawa County via the sale of Public Act 342 municipal bonds, and with contributions from the cities of Grand Haven and Ferrysburg, the Village of Spring Lake, and Grand Haven and Spring Lake townships. Municipalities have increased sewer rates in the past year to help fund the project. 

About $500,000 of the project’s cost will be paid through the Sewer Authority’s cash reserves, while $2.5 million was awarded in a state grant in December 2018.

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