Mattawan homeowners drained: Board authorizes action to remediate flooding

Posted at 11:24 PM, May 23, 2018

ANTWERP TOWNSHIP, Mich. —  Some residents in Van Buren County with flooded basements voiced their frustration Wednesday afternoon at a public Board of Determination hearing. But the county Drain Commissioner says a short-term resolution could be put in place “as soon as this weekend.”

One resident, Bob, told the board:

“I’ve lived at this address for 22 years, I’ve never had water in my basement. My insurance man came by, looked at it, said ‘It’s groundwater, everything you’ve lost, you buy’. Are you guys going to do anything about this? I’ve still got water pouring into my basement, I’ve lost everything in the basement. It’s still coming in, I don’t know what to do, I really don’t. Is my house going to be condemned? I don’t know, is it livable? I don’t know that either. I don’t know what to do. I’m just (upset), to say the least.”

The meeting was held at Antwerp Township Hall in Mattawan village. At issue is whether the “maintenance, improvement and extension” of the drainage system will be needed to protect public health in Mattawan, according to a Van Buren County public post. A presentation was made to landowners in the draingage district.

Drain Commissioner Joe Parman tells FOX 17 the Board determined the petition is necessary, which he says allows him to “move forward with a short-term and long-term solution. Short term will most likely involve pumping stormwater retention ponds on the east of Main Street, west to the Cook Intercounty Drain on 25th Street.”

Parman says “with everyone’s cooperation” the ball could begin rolling this weekend, if the county has permission to extend drain across private and commercial properties, to the west, to connect to the Cook Drain.

It can’t come soon enough, according to one commercial property owner who spoke at the meeting: “….we can see the problem mounting, we believe it’s an urgent situation …”.

Another resident, Bill, told the Board of Determination, “Joe mentioned that the recent rain has caused the water to go all the away across Main Street, but I also would like to point out that, it’s going beyond Main Street into the detention ponds at WEP and it’s right on the verge of invading the WEP structure.”

According to Drain Commissioner Parman, the long-term solution calls for designing an underground system. He says it would take water from the East, Bob-O-Links Estates drain to the West, Cook Drain: “That will require engineering and hydro-geological studies to determine the best route and course, and best solutions.”

Updates will be posted on the Van Buren County Drain Office website. More public informational meetings may be held, with the county mailing updates.