Ottawa County Road Commission

Northwest Ottawa Water System

Project Description

Over the past 20 years, Prein&Newhof has designed over $15 million in improvements to the Northwest Ottawa Water System (NOWS), including intakes, piping, and pump stations. The NOWS serves the City of Grand Haven, Spring Lake Township, Crockery Township, the City of Ferrysburg, Village of Spring Lake, and Grand Haven Township.

Infiltration Bed Intake (1990)

When two 30-year-old ranney collectors on the shore of Lake Michigan became partially clogged in the late 1980’s, Ottawa County’s water demand exceeded the production of the intakes. The Ottawa County Road Commission (OCRC) retained Prein&Newhof to design a new Lake Michigan intake and pump station. P&N designed a new intake system with two infiltration bed intakes. The infiltration beds were installed 14 feet below the bottom of Lake Michigan, surrounded by graded gravel and sand. The project also included a replacement pump station, located in Grand Haven State Park. P&N designed the new pump station with a cylindrical substructure built with caisson construction. The station contains four vertical turbine can pumps. Its capacity is 28 mgd, and it has an emergency generator for operation during power failures.


Transmission Main & Storage Tank (1991)

The OCRC retained Prein&Newhof to perform a hydraulic analysis of the NOWS and plan system improvements. The P&N team recommended 20,000 feet of 24-inch transmission main, a 1,000,000 gallon elevated storage tank, and a metering station including instrumentation and controls.

The main carries water from the NOWS Treatment Plant through Grand Haven, Spring Lake, and surrounding areas – crossing wetlands, the Grand River, and the Spring Lake Channel. It currently serves the northern sector of the NOWS, with connections for the City of Ferrysburg, the Village of Spring Lake, Crockery Township, and Spring Lake Township. The transmission main has increased water pressure and improved the reliability of local fire protection systems.


Intake Expansion (2002)

To meet increased needs, Ottawa County retained Prein&Newhof to increase its water supply with the construction of a second water intake.
P&N developed preliminary designs, prepared cost estimates, and completed a feasibility study for the expansion. The study considered the feasibility of adding capacity to the existing below-bottom intake system and making pumping and piping modifications at the low-lift pumping station.

The location for the second infiltration bed was selected to optimize the scouring of its surface by Lake Michigan waves and currents thereby avoiding clogging of the intake, a chronic problem of many surface water intakes. This design was based on research conducted by University of Michigan professor Guy Meadows and his firm, Coastal Dynamics.

With the second infiltration bed in place, residents enjoyed larger capacity, increased water pressure, and a larger daily supply of water. Each bed also has the ability to backwash the other, resulting in less maintenance for entire system.
Grand Rapids Supplemental Supply (2004)

The NOWS lacked adequate water at certain periods of high-demand during the year. To relieve the strain on the water supply, NOWS began purchasing water from the City of Grand Rapids.

Since the purchased water had to be metered, Ottawa County retained Prein&Newhof to design the plans for and oversee the construction of the necessary improvements. To help determine the best improvements, P&N first created a model of the existing water supply system and the new supplemental supply. Then P&N prepared the plans and specifications for the metering of the water.
In order to do necessary construction without inconveniencing the residents of the community P&N determined which time of year had the least demand and scheduled the construction accordingly.


System Maintenance & Expansion (Ongoing)

Prein&Newhof continues to maintain the NOWS system and design extensions to serve growing areas of Ottawa County. Recent projects have included:

  • Intake Maintenance (2008)
  • Water System Reliability Study (2007)
  • Water & Sewer Master Plan (2006)
  • Crocker Township Water System Extension (2005)
  • Polkton Township Water Supply (2005)


Kevin Kieft, PE
Project Manager