Sewer main online beneath the Grand River

Alexander Sinn • Jun 10, 2019 at 11:00 AM

In April, a light-blue pipe was pulled 4,000 feet across the Grand River from Grand Haven to Spring Lake.

The new sewer pipe, buried beneath the river, is now operational, Spring Lake Township Supervisor John Nash said Friday. It replaced a 1973 metal pipe that had ruptured multiple times and was past its life expectancy.

Nash said the pipe replacement, a first-of-its-kind project for the local units, bucks the common impression that government works at a snail’s pace. He said the project was proactive.

“It’s another example of why it’s such a great place to live,” the supervisor said. “If you look at a lot of municipalities, infrastructure is something they do nothing with. People don’t get concerned about it until they have a problem.”

The new 18-inch-wide pipe is 4 inches wider than the old one and is designed to account for continued growth in the area's population.

Nash said a leak from the previous pipe could have caused pollution in Lake Michigan “like people have never seen.” He said it was a “miracle” that the previous ruptures did not cause significant environmental contamination.

The Grand Haven/Spring Lake Sewer Authority’s infrastructure overhaul also includes a new headwork facility at the Grand Haven Wastewater Treatment Plant and upgraded pump stations that serve Spring Lake and Ferrysburg. Contractors from Cheboygan, Wisconsin, completed the pipe work under the river, using a specialized mud to slide it through.

The drilling cost $2.3 million of the $13.4 million infrastructure project funded by Ottawa County municipal bonds; and contributions from Grand Haven, Ferrysburg, the Village of Spring Lake, and Grand Haven and Spring Lake townships. The Sewer Authority contributed about $500,000 of its cash reserves, while $2.5 million was granted to the project in December 2018 by the Michigan Legislature.

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