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Spring rain making floods on Crooked Lake worse

Resident says dealing with floods, checking pumps, making sand bags everyday for 3 years is ‘very stressful way to live’
Posted at 7:50 PM, May 19, 2020

DELTON, Mich. — Before Deb Englehardt went to bed early Monday morning, she made a quick phone call to the Barry County Road Commission.

“I made a call at 12:37 a.m. saying we're having trouble out here,” Englehardt recalled. “We’re going to need more sand.”

She said the road behind her house was flooding again. Last year, the floods were so bad they had to raise the road 12-14 inches with gravel.

Monday, they did it again.

“The guy spent yesterday, probably the majority of the day, out here with dump truck after dump truck after truck and trying to Bobcat it so that we can drive through here,” Englehardt said. “And we’re now raised up at least for a while.”

Englehardt said this was their third year dealing with the floods.

In fact it was in the Spring of 2018, after a wet and snowy winter, that the lake rose to record levels and subsequently began flooding residents' beaches, yards, docks, houses and basements.

Englehardt said it’s gotten so bad over the years that some people left their homes and moved away.

“We start our day unfortunately every single day with checking pumps and adding more sand and sandbags and and lifting up the boardwalk so that you can at least walk in front of our house,” Englehardt said. “And it’s become a daily ritual and it shouldn’t. It’s become a way of life.”

Englehardt said it’s a ‘very stressful way to live’ everyday. She believes they’re in a crisis and the recent rains are making it worse.

“A week and a half ago we got our second pump up and running and mother nature and her infinite wisdom opened up the skies and dumps us another 5 inches of rain to contend with,” said Barry County Drain Commissioner Jim Dull. “So I think we’re probably actually higher than the worst it was last year.”

Dull said they received their second pump last week. It’s quiet and pumps 6,000 gallons of water out a minute. And they’re continuing to put the excess water into the retention pond on Delton Road.

He said right now his top priority it getting permits from the Department of Environment Quality to haul water away to another location.

“Once we get that, we’ll put another 12-inch pump that’ll take it from the retention pond up to Fall Creek,” he said.

Nevertheless, it’s been rough dealing with the floods, he said.

Englehardt agreed. She's hoping that the county and DEQ fix the problem soon.

“I think if you don’t have hope and faith that we’re going to be able to come up with a solution, I don’t know what else we have,” Englehardt said.

***Note: The next public hearing is scheduled for Thursday May 21***