1897 Agricultural Drain May Be the Cause of Sewer Concerns

A study to upgrade the old drain system is underway

At a village council meeting on Aug.12 in Genesee County, Michigan, Jeff Wright, Genesee County Drain Commissioner, commented that sewage was allegedly discharged into the Kearsley Creek through the village drains. Village and township officials were taken back by the comments and had many questions on the allegation. Work was also proposed on the Wheelock & Watkins Drain to correct the situation.

To update the community on the progress of the proposed work and clarify his statements, Wright responded to these questions and concerns in The Citizen. During the village meeting, Wright said, the discussion revolved around determining how sewage from mill pond water was ending up in the basements of homes. Infested water from the millpond appears to be flowing under Ridge Road through a pipe to the Goodrich Country Club pond. This is overwhelming the Wheelock & Watkins Drain. “Domestic animals and wild animals also contribute,” he said.

Wright also said, “I was aware one home that was in the village where the sanitary sewer was connected into the storm sewer. In reality that was the only such cross connection that I was aware of with regard to sewers in the village. Because of this determination we are analyzing three documents regarding the sewers in Goodrich.”

Built in 1897, the Wheelock & Watkins Drain is an agricultural drain. It encompasses a large segment of the village and affects almost 100 residents. This ancient drain has been one possible cause of the flooding of several residents’ homes and is under the jurisdiction of Genesee County. Petitions signed last year influenced the board, in a 3-0 vote, to upgrade the Wheelock & Watkins Drain.

A study and extensive survey is currently being conducted by engineering firm of Fleis & Vandenbrink. It should be available in about four to five weeks, added Wright. “At that time they will show potential options and the estimated costs,” he said . “A report will be sent to the village and petitioners for review. There will be time for input, questions and final design. They are currently working on the project.”

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