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Important Information

City of Parchment

On July 26, 2018, the City of Parchment discovered unacceptable levels of PFAS in its drinking water well supply. At that time, the city provided drinking water from groundwater wells to portions of both Parchment and Cooper Township. The current total service population is approximately 3,100 residential units and several businesses. When the PFAS issue was discovered, both Cooper Township and Parchment, along with the City of Kalamazoo immediately began coordinating efforts to shut down the Parchment wells and provide drinking water through emergency interconnections with the Kalamazoo water system.

Temporary water connections were immediately implemented, and Kalamazoo began flushing the Parchment water system on July 27, 2018.  Prein&Newhof assisted the city with modeling the newly joined systems to ensure adequate flows and pressures could be maintained. Three permanent connections were designed, permitted, constructed, and put into permanent service within 21 days.

In the fall of 2018, Kalamazoo asked Prein&Newhof to prepare a DWSRF loan application for water system extensions of 50,000 feet of water main and up to 500 home connections in areas impacted by the PFAS. Prein&Newhof quickly responded with an expedited DWSRF application and project design, which was submitted to EGLE for proposed 2021 construction. The application was successful, and the project bids were opened in June of 2020. Work began shortly thereafter and was completed in the summer of 2021 with a total of 400 residential homes being provided with clean, municipal water.

Richland Township

In 2016, the State of Michigan was monitoring an open environmental site in Richland Township and discovered that it was also contaminated with PFAS. Water well sampling performed downgradient of the site to define an area of impacted drinking water wells. In late 2018, the City of Kalamazoo, who provides municipal water to the Richland area, asked Prein&Newhof to prepare a DWSRF loan application and expedite a water system extension design for 6,500 feet of water main and 36 home connections.

In early 2019, the state created a grant program to assist communities with responding to environmental contamination issues. Because Prein&Newhof was working closely with State of Michigan EGLE staff on the DWSRF application, we were able to quickly pivot the funding request for the Richland water mains and Kalamazoo was awarded one of the first C2R2 grants in the state.

With the new funding source and an expedited design, the project went out to bid in fall 2019 and was constructed in spring 2020. This was the first of two water main extension projects in Richland Township to supply water to homes affected by PFAS. In the spring of 2019, while the design on the first project was underway, Kalamazoo asked Prein&Newhof to prepare another DWSRF loan application for the second water system extension into other areas impacted by PFAS. Prein&Newhof quickly responded with another expedited application and project design, which was submitted to EGLE for proposed 2021 construction. The application was successful, and the project bids were opened in June of 2020. Work began shortly thereafter and was completed in the spring of 2021 with another 30 residential homes being provided with clean, municipal water.

Boardman Lake Loop is a trail around Boardman Lake, just south of downtown Traverse City. The northern area of the trail offers an urban setting with commercial access, while the east side is a heavily wooded segment featuring gentle curves and a mix of pavement, boardwalk, overlooks, and gravel surfaces. The trail links users to community assets, including the library, a food market, Northwestern Michigan College University Center, densely populated neighborhoods in Traverse City and Garfield Township, and several commercial areas surrounding the lake.

The loop had a 1.6-mile-long gap to close. This section begins at 14th Street and meanders south to Medalie Park. In 2015, local leaders determined the completion of the trail needed to be a top priority for the Boardman Lake district. In response, Grand Traverse County applied for a Coastal Zone Management (CZM) grant from the MDNR to help fund the conceptual design phase of the project. Combined with additional funding from the Grand Traverse Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, work on the project began to take shape.

In conjunction with TART Trails, Garfield Township, and the City of Traverse City, Grand Traverse County hired Prein&Newhof to provide preliminary and geotechnical design, topographic surveying, mapping, assistance in public meetings, and design development drawings to finally close this long-awaited loop.

Details of the project included trail design and routing, boardwalk design over a shallow part of Boardman Lake, water access amenities including stairs and a fishing deck, and two bridges over the Boardman River to connect to the trail on the east side.

Working with multi-stakeholder team, meeting with the public many times, gathering input, and presenting the proposed design, everyone was enthusiastic about moving forward with the trail’s final leg. Phase 1, nearly a mile of the trail, included a retaining wall between 16th Street and Northwestern Michigan College University Center. The next leg of the trail, between Medalie Park and Northwestern Michigan College, included the big boardwalk, two bridges, and the overlooks.

Funding for the project included grants from the CZM program, MDOT’s TAP program, MDNRTF Passport program, and EGLE Brownfield funding. Garfield Township and Traverse City funded the remainder of the project.

From the time it took from initial planning to ribbon cutting—roughly 20 years—the 4.2-mile loop around Boardman Lake was finally completed in July of 2022. By all appearances since, it has been well worth the wait by the amount of traffic on the trail since it officially opened.

Stakeholder and Public Input

A stakeholder advisory committee was formed with organizations such as the Bay Area Transit Authority (BATA), Traverse City Light & Power, Northwestern Michigan College, Traverse Area District Library, the Disability Network of Northern Michigan, members from environmental groups, and the core Boardman Lake Loop leadership team to identify current programs, projects, activities or services on the trail’s use, design, or users’ experiences. This group met several times during the six months it took to complete schematic design. It also provided as a feedback loop on draft designs and ensured the concept was consistent with all parties’ expectations.

A series of community engagement group workshops were scheduled for community input and ideas to better understand the various needs and wants of the trail design from the public. These meetings were widely advertised and promoted to bring in a packed house at each session. Members of the Prein&Newhof design team and the core leadership team were present to facilitate discussion, brainstorm ideas, provide feedback, and answer questions. Overall, a very positive experience, and a significant amount of work was accomplished quickly.


Weather was one of many challenges the construction crews faced. The area of the Boardman Lake where the boardwalk was to be located is shallow, and the lake bottom is full of organic peat materials. The equipment necessary to drive the piles needed to stay on top of this mess to do the work. Unfortunately, barges were not an option—not enough depth—therefore, it required a lot of innovation to craft a different solution: the swamp excavator.

The swamp excavator has wide tracks which serve as pontoons, so it can float. The contractor worked on the piles in both the summer and winter, using it to access pile locations out in the lake. An additional benefit was it allowed the crew to access the site without dredging, or using crane mats that would most likely have been lost in the mud or a barge.

Wood Pilings

GPS points provided by Prein&Newhof’s survey crew ensured precise locations for pile positioning in the middle of the lake making the process more efficient. The pile design length was 45 feet long and protruded 5 feet above the water to provide clearance under the boardwalk for kayakers. A vibratory pile driver was used to set the piles, and an impact hammer was used to finish the installation to ensure the pilings had the correct bearing capacity. In several locations a third pile was placed to obtain the required bearing capacity for the bent.

Team Elmer’s high level of professionalism was demonstrated by the expertise of their project management team.

Environmental Considerations

The bar for environmental considerations was substantially raised with the Boardman Lake Loop project. As a biodiverse habitat for many species indigenous to the region, great care was taken to protect not only the animals, birds, and reptiles but all of the plants and grasses along the banks and shoreline.

Area environmental groups were excited to be involved in the project, and members of their organizations were present and participated in the public meetings. Many of their suggestions were incorporated into the design of the project.

The original vision for this segment of the trail was to travel along the banks and shoreline, which would interfere with the wetlands and meadows in this area. During the planning phases, the design team recommended constructing a boardwalk to cross the Cove as a means to minimize the danger to wildlife. In addition to relieving the potential for wildlife distress, it would allow trail users to get an up close and personal perspective of wildlife without disrupting habitats.

The route of the boardwalk across the Cove significantly reduces any impact on the bird nesting area and shoreline wildlife, a big concern for all parties involved. Taking advantage of the excitement for the boardwalk concept, eyebrow overlooks were added to give a safe location for anyone taking the new nature and birdwatching opportunities that might otherwise be difficult to access with a large volume of traffic going across.

Emphasis was placed on shoreline restoration for the areas where the boardwalk and bridge abutments met the river or the lake. The trail was aligned and set at the boardwalk and bridges to minimize impact to the existing wetlands and meadows.

Native wetland plantings/shoots were specified to restore/recharge the existing wetlands at Medalie Park. Native grasses and plantings were planted along the trail, and a special native seed mix was developed to minimize washouts in very steep areas. The Brownfield areas were transformed to became more park like with new topsoil, grasses, and trees.

In 2014, the City of Cadillac applied for MIplace Partnership help from the Michigan Municipal League (MML). They wanted to make the downtown’s Heritage Plaza a more inviting and exciting place for visitors and residents, while reflecting Cadillac’s true character. The PlacePlan took community input, design ideas, and a study of the area’s assets to make a customized plan for downtown Cadillac. The area was rebranded as Cadillac Commons as part of this process. It comprises of the Rotary Performing Arts Pavilion, The Plaza, The Trailhead, and The Market.

The Market, a 6,000-square-foot pavilion style multi-purpose space, is the final piece of a series of improvements recommended by Cadillac’s PlacePlan. Prein&Newhof was hired to complete the site design and development for the Plaza.

Residents of Cadillac gathered on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 to celebrate the project’s completion with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The Market is now home to Cadillac’s community markets, such as the traditional Cadillac Farmers’ Market and the Cadillac Made in Michigan Artisan and Farm Market.

Construction began at the end of 2017 and finished in May of 2019.

PFAS from industrial companies has been leaching into the groundwater in communities across the nation for decades. Plainfield Township’s Water Treatment Plant (WTP) draws water from sixteen wells in three wellfields, and homes on the municipal water system were getting low levels of PFAS in their drinking water. While Plainfield’s WTP output was well below the EPA advisory level after shutting down one wellfield, the Township wanted PFAS levels as low as possible.

Prein&Newhof helped the Township perform a pilot study to determine if modifying existing rapid sand filter beds in the water treatment plant with GAC would reduce the amount of PFAS in the water supply. The grant covered the cost for modifying five existing filters and for extensive testing of raw and treated water for PFAS and other contaminants. The pilot program and construction, unique in that it was being done on a fully operational water system, included three phases to test different configurations to find the optimal design for removing PFAS. The first year of testing demonstrated that the modified filters successfully met all current water treatment requirements while also removing PFAS.

The expansion involves removing the current filtering materials and altering the filter bottoms with inserts to support the change to GAC filtration. Work has been completed raising the piping to allow for a 52-inch thick bed of GAC filtration material, compared to the previous 37-inch bed of traditional filtration media.

Construction for the pilot project completed in fall of 2018 replaced filter media in five of the water plant’s filter beds with GAC, allowing the plant to treat up to 9 mgd. A subsequent project replaced three more filter beds with GAC media, raising the treatment output to 12 mgd and allowing even peak summer demands to be fully treated with GAC filtration. The water plant’s four remaining filters were not configured to accommodate the GAC filters, but the Township has made plans to modify these filters—two in 2020 and the final two in 2021.

When the project is finished, the Township will have 16 million gallons per day capacity under GAC filtration. Currently the plant has pumped an average of 2.6 million gallons of water per day this winter and averages six million gallons per day during the summer months, with past peak demand nearing 11 million gallons on hot, dry summer days.

This pilot study is foundational for future municipal treatment of compounds like PFAS, which will continue to be at the forefront of public awareness, and has already been beneficial to other municipalities facing similar drinking water challenges.

The South Clay Hill Neighborhood is serviced by the City of Muskegon’s Beidler Trunk Sanitary Sewer. Its service area includes 400+ homes and businesses located within approximately 365 acres.

The City’s Wastewater Asset Management Plan identified the Beidler Trunk Sewer as the highest priority replacement in the City’s system. Its clay pipe sewer lines were over 90 years old and were structurally deficient with a history of breaks. They also were located unusually deep, within alleys, and next to commercial buildings. Portions of this sewer were installed in a creek bed where access was nearly impossible, and groundwater infiltration was extremely high adding unnecessary flow volumes and treatment costs.

Emergency Trunk Sewer Repair

During the Thanksgiving weekend of 2019—only months before construction was planned to begin—the Beidler Trunk Sewer collapsed. This main line pipe failure stopped the flow of sanitary sewage and caused sewer backups. Temporary bypass pumping was set up just upstream of the collapsed sewer to buy some time.  Immediate repair was critical. The collapse was located 25 feet deep and only 12 feet from a commercial building, which severely impacted access for repair.

Prein&Newhof assessed different options for repair, contacted contractors, and helped the City to determine a workable solution. The main goals were to impose minimal impact on the surrounding businesses and to implement the repair quickly. Open-cut construction was ruled too risky and difficult, so Prein&Newhof recommended a trenchless solution that involved drilling a new pipe directly above the old pipe. The contractor was able to connect to the new sewer from existing manholes, so no excavation was needed to complete the repair.

Sewer System Replacement

After the emergency repair was successfully installed, the time came to replace the failing trunk sewer.  The new sewer system design follows a gravity flow path north to a new Beidler Lift Station. This allowed for significantly shallower gravity sewer lines. When evaluating replacement of the sewer in its original route, Prein&Newhof discovered that to fix flat grade issues in the system—where the wastewater did not flow by gravity and required costly pumping to maintain the flow—portions of the new sewer would have to be laid at more than 35 feet deep.

With the new, alternate route, the sanitary sewer depth at its deepest point was 25 feet and 90% of the sewer was installed less than 20 feet from the surface. The new design also removed all the active sewer lines from the creek bed.

The project included:

  • Installing a new 900 gallons-per-minute triplex submersible sanitary lift station at Young Avenue and Beidler Street, and a nearly 1-mile-long sanitary force main, connecting the lift station to an existing gravity sewer at Division Street and Grand Avenue.
  • Replacing 1.5 miles of gravity sanitary sewer using both traditional open-cut and horizontal directional drilling methods.
  • Rerouting 6 sewer services from backyards and alleys to the new gravity sewer main in the roadway for residents located south of Hackley Street on Beidler Street and Poliski Drive.
  • Replacing 2,600 feet of 90-year-old water main from Crowley Street between Young Avenue and Laketon Avenue, and on Beidler Street and Poliski Drive south of Hackley Avenue. The City decided to add this work to the project scope since the sewer replacements required full road replacement.
  • Replacing approximately 60 water services (containing or connected to lead) from the water main to the building throughout the project area.
  • Reconstructing approximately 1 mile of roadways.

Construction was completed in November 2020.

Located in Comstock Park, Mill Creek is a tributary of the Grand River that flows through Dwight Lydell Park. Over a century ago, in the late 1800s, concrete walls and armored banks were added to the creek in this area, channelizing it to support the State fish hatchery managed by Dwight Lydell in the area that is now the park. In 1946, the State donated these 39-acres to Kent County to be used as a park. Over the many decades, the concrete walls and armored banks deteriorated and eroded into the creek.

In 2017, Prein&Newhof began working with Kent County Parks to naturalize, stabilize, and improve Mill Creek as it flows through the park as part of a large, long-term transformation of the park. Prein&Newhof provided a natural channel design that included bio-engineered erosion control for the creek banks once the concrete and armored banks were removed. This new approach also incorporates a floodplain bench at the eastern end of the park to temporarily hold floodwaters following significant rain/snow events.

It was important to maintain the creek’s bankfull dimensions (size of the channel needed to convey lower flows) to keep the stream banks stable and minimize sediment transport. The approach to accomplish this was to create the proper stream and floodplain dimensions and to stabilize the soil behind the concrete channel linings and walls after removing them by using bioengineering techniques that include plantings. Construction began in August 2020 and was completed in June 2021.

In addition to restoring Mill Creek, this project also features a new elevated boardwalk, bridge, and an overlook from which to enjoy the natural beauty of the park. The pedestrian bridge over the creek leads to the Comstock Park Library parking lot, and the boardwalk connects the Lamoreaux Drive neighborhood with the Dwight Lydell Park parking lot.


In 2016, the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) developed a long-range plan to address existing and future healthcare needs for Michigan veterans. They chose to pursue a plan to expand the services provided by Michigan’s veterans homes, and to decrease displacement of veterans and the travel time for their loved ones. Seven new state facilities were proposed, and the State of Michigan submitted a Certificate of State Match Funding for the first two of seven.

One of these first two projects involved improving the existing Grand Rapids location. In partnership with TowerPinkster (Architect), Prein&Newhof assisted with this community-style residential project for the MVAA. Prein&Newhof provided the site design engineering, geotechnical engineering, survey, Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESA I) and environmental assessments (EA).

The overhaul to the Grand Rapids Veterans Home, estimated at $53 million, provides new residence for 128 veterans. The new design is a village model, with four small–house neighborhoods, each intended for 32 residents. Every resident has his/her own bedroom and bathroom, and shares a common gathering area and kitchen space. The neighborhoods surround a 33,000-square-foot community center with offices, occupational and physical therapy spaces, and convenient amenities such as a barbershop and café. The project was designed to be built at one elevation for optimal ADA accessibility. The surrounding grounds incorporate additional recreation opportunities and are landscaped with paths and gardens.

Originally built in 1885, the Grand Rapids Veterans Home sits on 90 lush acres near the bank of the Grand River. Preserving the property’s longstanding history while preparing the north lot for construction presented unique challenges. Underground tunnels, abandoned railroad beds, and coal storage were discovered in primary areas that needed new or updated stormwater and sanitary sewer infrastructure. A few existing facilities were demolished to make room for the new multi-unit facility.

Construction began in 2019 and the improved Grand Rapids Veterans Home was fully operational in 2021.

The City of Walker spent almost 20 years trying to identify feasible funding sources to widen and replace the Walker Avenue bridge over the Coopersville & Marne Railway. The concrete box beam structure was weight-restricted, in serious need of repair, and not conducive to cost-effective maintenance that would extend its life. Surface maintenance had been routinely performed; however, bridge experts had pointed out that when beams begin to show signs of deterioration, it is best to look for permanent options. City leaders explored a potential maintenance project for approximately $350,000 to gain an additional 10-15 years of life from the bridge. Cost estimates for replacing and widening the bridge were nearly $6 million.

A commercial industry (BISSELL) within the corridor, south of the railway, was hindered from any facility growth/expansion due to the bridge’s limitations. In addition, the only access driveway for BISSELL provided inadequate sight distances for motorists. The minimum safety standard for a road profile is to meet the required stopping sight distance for the designed speed. A review indicated that this requirement was not being met. Vehicles traveling south over the bridge toward the BISSELL drive at high speed made it difficult for semi-trucks and other vehicles to pull out safely. While Walker Avenue was a four-lane road, the bridge over the railway narrowed down to two lanes.

To meet this requirement, the team investigated various solutions. Prein&Newhof worked with the Coopersville Marne Railroad to develop scenarios to provide enough stopping sight distance while minimizing the work needed to the existing rails. The decision came down to a cost-benefit analysis that evaluated the rail and road profiles.

Ultimately, it was more economically feasible to remove the bridge and return the corridor to an at-grade crossing, raising the rail grade and lowering the road grade. This solution would correct the stopping sight distance safety concern and eliminate the need for future inspection and long-term maintenance of the bridge. The design added an overhead signal at the crossing to make the railway more visible to oncoming motorists.

Prein&Newhof provided design, engineering, bid assistance, construction staking, full-time construction observation, professional project management, and consistent public communication, including a construction update webpage to keep the public informed of progress. Construction phasing was a significant consideration throughout the design process. Challenges included adjacent property access, existing utilities, and proposed utility relocations. The goal was to minimize disruption to the vehicular traffic and provide access to neighboring businesses to continue operations.

The design team worked closely with EGLE to secure permits to extend an existing 84-inch concrete culvert located under the railroad east of Walker Avenue. Retaining walls were designed to limit the culvert extensions on both sides of the railroad.

The entire project team’s relationship provided BISSELL the confidence to invest $6.3 million to renovate the building and created 99 new jobs. Construction began in February 2020 and was completed by August 2020.

For over 35 years, City of Ludington leaders had been working toward the dream of building a centralized location in the downtown area to bring their community together, creating a sense of place, a sense of legacy.

For several decades, the need for a gathering place in the downtown area had been evident. In 2007, a one-way street heading north from the main intersection of downtown was closed to test a site that could be used for this purpose. Creating a gathering place would be an essential move to get more people playing, shopping, and overall congregating in the downtown area.

The City of Ludington’s new community gathering space has made its home in the former James Street right-of- way—originally a one-way street heading north from the main intersection of downtown. Legacy Plaza is a welcoming space that includes a farmers market pavilion, restroom facility, raised performance stage, gas fireplace with seating wall, decorative lighting, green space, native rain gardens, and site furnishings tied together with decorative concrete and landscaping.

Prein&Newhof provided site design, water main and storm water sewer design, landscape architecture, and construction observation services. Century AE provided design and technical assistance for architecture and electrical engineering. Their contribution was critical to the overall function and feel of the plaza. Heirloom Carpentry & Construction of Ludington, the contractor for the project, has offices adjacent to the project site, affording an elevated view of the project from their third-floor office.

Much of the cost of the work was in hidden infrastructure improvements, from water and storm drainage to sewer and electricity. Beneath the former James Street right-of-way, a maze of utilities needed to be inspected, measured, evaluated, connected to, avoided, or bridged. The complex design took many engineers, architects, and contractors working together with the help of the city’s staff to put the site and utility puzzle together.

A beautiful four-color brick paver compass rose gives nod to the pioneer spirit of the lumber era, the navigational component of maritime history, and bears black, red, yellow, and white colors that are culturally significant to the native people who lived here pre-white settlement. The anchor to the north entry of the Plaza is also the new home to the clock tower placed on Ludington Avenue in the 1980s. The fireplace is south of the alley and surrounded by decorative concrete, seat walls, and café tables, and the flames are easily seen from Ludington Avenue.

City staff members were consistent in highlighting the project during both design and construction on social media. Prein&Newhof also provided a construction update page, highlighting detailed updates every week. A broad reach of regional and area media outlets provided news coverage to keep the West Michigan area informed of the project and the progress to create excitement once the project was complete.

Green elements include rain garden plantings, LED lighting, and a water bottle filling station. Grass was planted in the heart of the Plaza to provide a place for water to soak in while people can soak up the sun. The use of trees and light-colored pavements were chosen to help keep the Plaza cool during hot summer days.

The design of Legacy Plaza is based on the value that still endures—people. Everything about the design is intended to enhance the users’ experience and become a backdrop for a vibrant community.

“The impact of the project on the downtown, after one year, is already being seen…. It is one more space that makes Ludington special.”

Heather Tykoski, Ludington Community Development Director (via Shoreline Media)


Ludington’s Native American Heritage

From the very beginning, city leaders wanted the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians involved in the design process of the plaza. The tribe was very supportive of the project and how the contributions of Native Americans in the Ludington area would be honored in the plaza.

A tribal historian from the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians performed a traditional site groundbreaking ceremony. A cultural tradition inherently respectful of nature, the groundbreaking ceremony is performed to seek permission and forgiveness from Mother Earth before commencing the digging.

The fireplace represents the tribes that were the first people to settle this area: the Ottawa, the Ojibwa, and the Potawatomi. The Council of the Three Fires was an alliance of native Anishinaabe tribes prominent in Michigan. The circle surrounding the fireplace is inscribed with the seven traditional virtues of the Anishinaabe: respect, love, truth, bravery, humility, honesty, and wisdom.


Lumber Industry Heritage

The pavilion was built with timber wood tongue-and-groove ceiling to honor the vast lumbering heritage of the area. Replica custom lumber stamps were made to match those used by distinguished local names—the lumber barons who made their wealth here were pressed into the wet cement. The replications of these stamp designs are hidden in eight locations throughout the Plaza’s north end to honor the industry’s impact.



In 2008, when the Downtown Ludington Board updated their tax increment financing plan, the North James Street area redevelopment was their number one project goal.

In 2019, the city was placed on the HUD Low/Mod list-making Ludington eligible to receive funding from the State of Michigan for projects that would help create jobs and stimulate the local economy. That same year, the city’s small steps became giant leaps and turned their vision into reality. With the assistance of a generous $2.1 million grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation through a Community Development Block Grant and $389,710 raised via private donations and fundraising efforts, the city was finally able to move forward.

In 2017, Texas Charter Township began getting questions from residents living on Eagle Lake and Crooked Lake about lake levels, floodplains, and elevation certificates. Rainfall had been higher than average for a while. By May 2018, widespread flooding around Eagle Lake and Crooked Lake became a critical issue: Basements were flooded and moldy, wakes were out of the question, eight homes had to be demolished, and the lake was unusable.

Prein&Newhof was hired to investigate the cause of the high water levels and develop recommendations for a new outlet to alleviate the flooding. Prein&Newhof deployed its survey team to get a picture of what was going on with the lakes. Many residents were spending thousands of dollars to pump water out of their homes with sump pumps around the clock.

This situation called for a short-term and long-term solution. As a short-term solution, Prein&Newhof investigated pumping water from Crooked Lake into nearby Bass Lake using hydraulic modeling and simulations, to ensure the pumping would not negatively affect other lakes. Unlike the other lakes, Bass Lake has an outlet to the Kalamazoo River. Pumping would require a permit from EGLE, and as part of a permit to pump, they needed information on the water chemistry and invasive species in the two affected lakes. Crooked Lake had invasive species, so the pump to Bass Lake needed a filter. The temporary pumping system moved excess water from Eagle Lake to Crooked Lake and then from Crooked Lake to Bass Lake, which has a natural outlet to the West Fork of the Portage Creek, where it eventually flows into the Kalamazoo River. The Township created a special assessment district to fund the project, which includes 630 impacted properties.

Pumping started in May 2019, but the lake levels continued to go up due to rainfall. The lake level rose and fell a bit until the summer of 2020, when the water levels finally started to drop significantly. The level eventually dropped 3.5 feet in Crooked and Eagle Lakes, and similar drops in levels for nearby Duck Lake, Pine Lake, and Pretty Lake. Pumping stopped on June 1, 2021. Eagle and Crooked Lakes’ augmentation wells were turned back on soon after.

Prein&Newhof’s study found that the real issue was with the water table, and the lake needed a better outlet. The culvert under 8th Street, between Eagle Lake and Bass Lake, was found to be undersized, and Bass Lake’s level was relatively low. The long-term solution involved a gravity line with control structures between the lakes, with discharge routes from lake to lake. The elevation differences between these lake allows for gravity flow of this water, so the future operation and maintenance of the system will be low. Crooked Lake will need to be addressed first, since the other flooded lakes flow into it. The discharge routes will require easements to get through private property and permits through the right-of-way. Design of the discharge routes is near completion, and construction should begin soon. It will include 2,700 feet of gravity main, and cribs (buried intakes) need to be in place for the pumps because of invasive species.

These lake touched many people’s personal lives. Collaboration was necessary with the Township, multi-office Prein&Newhof team, City of Kalamazoo, EGLE, Attorney General’s office, Lake Associations, Fred Upton’s office, Senators, Representatives, Balkema Excavating, the Road Commission of Kalamazoo County, and the Kalamazoo County Drain Commissioner. Prein&Newhof recruited community members to monitor all the levels that needed data, using a cloud-based document that everyone could access. This saved the township a great deal of money. Prein&Newhof also prepared public education materials to help the community understand the issues causing the flooding and why the solutions would work.