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The original item was published from 1/22/2020 4:03:04 PM to 1/30/2020 5:05:01 PM.

News Flash

Drain Office

Posted on: January 22, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Columbia and Canal Flooding

There has been a lot of mention in the news and on social media regarding the flooding at Canal and Columbia.  The perception seems to be that the drain commissioner does not care and will not do anything about it.  This is just not factual.  Someone from the drain office has been at that intersection and inspecting various parts of the drain on an almost daily basis since it most recently flooded.  Prior to that, the drain office staff has been working to find a possible solution to this flooding.  This drain was put in originally in the 1800s.  The land looked a lot different back then and was used in a different manner back then.  There have been many changes to land usage and new homes have been built since then.  The drain no longer works the way it was intended due to the changes that have occurred in the area over time.  There has been maintenance on this drain that falls within the drain code.  The current drain commission administration has put countless hours and resources into this location.  The drain code only allows the the expenditure of $5,000 per mile per year on any given drain.  The drain code also does not allow for the deepening, widening, relocating, lengthening, enlarging of any drain without a petition.  The drain office cannot start a petition.  It must come from landowners within the district or from a municipality within the district.  This drain is currently working at its maximum capacity.  The water cannot move any faster due to pipe size restraints.  As mentioned, the drain office cannot enlarge the pipe without a petition.  We have opened up the pipes in a few locations at times when the road has been flooded in an attempt to get the water off the road.  However, this then needs to be monitored to ensure properties downstream do not get overly flooded.  We are just limited by drain code as to what we can do.  We had a meeting Tuesday with the Eaton County Road Commission and the Supervisor of Eaton Rapids Township to go over possible ways that this situation can be improved.  The township supervisor will be taking this information to his Board at a future board meeting to discuss their willingness to provide the drain office with a petition.  Until that happens, all the drain office can do is continue to monitor the situation and do everything we can within the drain code to help alleviate the problem.  Unfortunately our hands our tied without a petition.  Please be assured that we are doing all we can.   

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