Crooked Lake residents’ frustrations rise as water damage continues

Posted at 6:48 PM, Oct 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-22 18:48:28-04

DELTON, Mich. — Residents concerns about the water issues at Crooked Lake persist as the water continues to rise. Over two dozen residents filled The Local Grind coffee shop in downtown Delton to meet, for the second time in a month, about the ongoing water issues.

“We’re running short on time,” said Deb Englehardt during an interview. “We’re having 10 degrees cooler than normal temperatures already. It’s a worry for everyone.”

Englehardt was one of the organizers of Friday’s meeting. She’s among the residents who said they’re in a “crisis.” They said the water level is so high it’s washed out patios, decks and beaches. In some cases it's flooded people’s basements and left mold.

“We’ve had structural engineers tell us that there's so many homes with so much ground water, and the lake being so close, and so many people losing so much footage,  that the water has no place else to go,” Englehardt said. “Foundations will be in jeopardy.”

Residents said all their concerns began in early spring when the water rose to record levels after a wet winter. Since February it’s gone up 50 inches and has not receded. They’re hoping local and state officials will help out soon before the winter cold sets in.

“A lot of people are concerned,” said Barry County Commissioner David Jackson. “They’ve been concerned for quite some time. I think these meetings are important because we have to get the community together.”

Commissioner Jackson and Drain Commissioner Jim Dull were the only two officials in attendance. Lt. Gov. Calley and Rep. Julie Calley were invited but couldn't make it. Jackson said it was good to hear all the possible solutions including reviewing how engineers were able to reduce the water at Crooked Lake in Texas Township.

“I’m hoping we can get together and maybe I can lead that charge with some local people in the community, to reach out and find out if there’s anything else we can do to expedite this process,” Jackson said.

Residents at the meeting discussed the possibility of moving the excess water to other locations in Delton. Some mentioned enforcing “eminent domain” on people’s properties should those homeowners be resistant. The group said they don’t want to resort to that but their situation is dire.

“This weekend there are people out because they have water in their homes,” Englehardt said. “It’s coming up through their registers. Their furnaces aren’t working. There are a couple of families whose toilets aren’t flushing. We need to deal with this immediately.”