Paw Paw Dam Break Raises More Concern Over Contaminated Water Sediment
Concerns of flooding in Paw Paw turn to concern over contaminated water from sediment being carried downstream.
WHAT HAPPENED WAS...
Maple Lake had been lowered, allowing for large sections of the lake bed to be exposed to kill off vegetation and algae growing in the lake. On October 15th, 2017, the Briggs Pond dam broke, allowing millions of gallons of water into Maple Lake. Initial thought were that the lowered lake prevented flooding and damage to homes and property around the lake.
HERE'S THE REAL PROBLEM...
All the sediment that is in the pond is now being carried into Maple Lake, the connecting streams and rivers, and eventually out to Lake Michigan. Usually not a big deal except for one problem. Several studies have been done over the years with soil samples taken from the pond and lake.
In February 2006, representatives of the Village of Paw Paw collected ten (10) sediment samples from Briggs Pond and the associated South Branch of the Paw Paw River for analysis of total arsenic by KAR Laboratories, Inc. of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Total arsenic concentrations ranged between 6 and 94 mg/kg arsenic. Three additional samples were collected from Briggs Pond in October/November 2007 for analysis of total arsenic. The arsenic concentrations ranged between 29 and 60 mg/kg.
If you look at the full report, you will notice these numbers going up year after year. The report also offers several courses of action to remediate the pollutants with the least expensive option being "no action". Other options range from $500,000 to several million dollars.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE...
I don't have the answer to that. I'm not a scientist or specialist in soil removal and disposal. What I do know is that we have created our own problems with reckless abandon of our environment. Not caring what was dumped into our water and on the ground for far too long. Now we must be the stewards to our planet we should always have been and clean up our mess.
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