Clean-up continues in Kalamazoo County after flooding, sewage spill

Posted at 4:36 PM, Aug 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-17 19:55:17-04

KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. — Andy Newton said around 5a.m. Tuesday morning he heard what sounded like rocks crumbling outside. He walked out onto his front lawn and didn’t see anything. It was too dark. He returned 45 minutes later to see there was car-sized hole in the middle of the road.

“It took about an hour for the road to completely collapse,” said Newton during an interview near the hole in Vicksburg.

X Avenue, near 40th street, collapsed due to Monday night’s record rainfall. Newton said as soon as he saw the hole, he dialed 9-1-1 and told them what happened. He and some neighbors then used their cars to block people from driving down the street.

“I just told people I wouldn’t advise them driving over this section of the road,” said Newton. “There was a lady that got quite upset. And a gentlemen that got upset and sped off.”

Before morning was over, road signs were put out by Wakeshma township and Kalamazoo county. Jason Gatlin said via text that engineers with the county are currently looking at the site and the road should re-open in two-to-four weeks.

“This is pretty outstanding,” said Newton about the rain that created a pool in his backyard and left a 4-inch flood in his basement. “I grew up in a lowline area in southern Hillsdale County and this is the worst I've seen flooding in the area or any area I ever lived in in Michigan."

Elsewhere in the county, one of the pumps at the Kalamazoo Water Reclamation Plant malfunctioned, allowing for over a half million gallons of waste water to overflow into the Kalamazoo River.  Officials at the plant told FOX 17 during a recent interview that hey noticed the issue during a routine walk-though Tuesday morning. Immediately they got to work fixing the pump and took water samples from the river.

“We run a 24-hour test on them, and for E. Coli,” said Steve Rochow, who works for the plant. “The results will come out tomorrow and we’ll submit those to the Kalamazoo health department.”

Rochow said the plant treats about 26 million gallons of waste water a day. Nonetheless they’re carefully checking the river water to make sure people can enjoy it again soon. For now, all water activities — swimming, kayaking, fishing — are all banned until further notice.

“We don’t think it should have an impact on the river,” said Rochow.  “I would expect them to lift it by this weekend.”