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E-M:/ New Meijer store draining water from spring-fed lake



PUBLISHED: Monday, August 27, 2007

Sinking feeling

 

New Meijer store draining water from spring-fed lake

 

By Gordon Wilczynski

Macomb Daily Staff Writer

 

Al Gaskill retired a few years ago from the power sport business he owned for 40 years in Eastpointe. He thought he could relax next to a 17-acre lake on his property in Lenox Township and have a coffee and eat a roll while watching the swans, ducks and other animals frolic on his property.

He also does a little fishing on his lake, pulling in a few crappie, bluegill and bass.

He doesn't know how long that will last because his lake is losing water, fast.

His spring-fed lake, which once was 34 feet

deep, is shrinking. Gaskill blames a new development less than a mile from his home on 26 Mile Road. He believes workers at the site are draining water from the area and dumping it into a sewer line that runs into Lake St. Clair.

The water was drained to allow massive sewers to be constructed in front of the new Meijer store just east of Interstate 94. Now, more pumping is being conducted as sewer lines are being laid to the west of the store. Officials said the construction will last another three weeks.

Mike Tomassi, an inspector with the Macomb County Public Works Commission, said the sewer line is being laid 35 feet below the ground. He said work crews must pump and drain the water so that the sides of the huge hole don't collapse during construction.

"We're about 300 feet from finishing the (sewer) project," Tomassi said.

There are 70-plus wells on the Meijer property that remove the water when the table gets too high. The wells act as sump pumps.

Gaskill said he doesn't want to stand in the way of progress, but that progress should not inconvenience him or his neighbors.

"I had no idea when they started building the Meijer store on the other side of the freeway that would affect us on this side," said Gaskill. "Lake Gaskill used to be 34 feet deep. Now the lake is 12 feet deep because of all of this dewatering going on."

Several people have already lost their well water. At least one has been hooked up to the Detroit system.

Jim Paisley, who lives on the north side of the lake, said one homeowner is pumping mud instead of the crystal clear water that he once did.

Both Gaskill and Paisley believe that the natural aquifer that supplies the water to area wells and lakes will change because of the 26 Mile sewer construction. Gaskill said the developers have sucked out millions of gallons of water and dumped it into Lake St. Clair.

"My lake is so low that the water is much warmer than it should be," said Gaskill. "I'm afraid that all of the fish that I planted here over the last 20 years will die because the water is too warm."

Gaskill said he spoke with a representative of the Macomb County Road Commission last week and was told that many of the residents will be hooked up to the Detroit municipal water system. He said that doesn't help him if he gets Detroit drinking water but loses his lake.

"I don't know where to turn to," Gaskill said.

 

 

Melissa Damaschke

Sierra Club Conservation Organizer

1723 West Fourteen Mile Road

Royal Oak, MI 48073

Phone:  (248) 549-6213

Website:  www.sierraclub.org/community/oakland

 

Together, we will keep the Great Lakes GREAT!