Neighborhood blames water problems on flooding fix

Barry County

BARRY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Since 2018, high water on Crooked Lake has inundated homes, causing damage and frustration.

Local officials came up with a temporary solution, involving pumping lake water into nearby retention ponds.

But now, others living near the lake say the cure has caused a new set of problems.

John Jarvis noticed one of the problems this summer, when the steady stream from a garden hose fed by his well reduced to trickle within minutes.

“It starts to fall off kinda quick, ” Jarvis said.

Water pressure isn’t his only problem.

Jarvis says he and some of his neighbors have noticed an increase in rust and the water tastes bad.

Jarvis says he has switched to bottled water.

“You can’t run the sink, flush the toilet and do laundry, do anything,” said Jarvis, who wants someone in charge to step up. “Come test my water as part of monitoring programs to ensure that you’re actions haven’t promoted my issues.”

Jarvis says the problems began when retention ponds just down the road from his home began to fill.

The ponds are a stop-gap measure aimed at reducing high water that flooded homes on Crooked Lake.

It hasn’t fixed the problem.

“It’s helped,” said Barry County Drain Commissioner Jim Dull. “We have taken it down about a foot from the highest it was this spring, after spring rains.”

But has the solution to one problem led to another?

Jarvis thinks it has.

Dull disagrees.

After complaints from other homeowners in the area about water quality, the drain commission tested water in two homes closes to the ponds.

In one case, they did find Coliform bacteria.

“Our evaluator suggested it’s probably from the piping in the house. He doesn’t believe it’s from the well,” Dull said.

As for other issues, like rust and the lack of pressure, Dull suggests it may be more to do with the age and upkeep of wells in the neighborhood.

And when it comes to water pressure, he says the engineers back that up.

“They didn’t see any correlation between — if we are building water pressure over here — how he would have less pressure over there,” Dull said.

But for Jarvis, it’s all about the timing.

“To me, it seemed like about the time they got the retention pond across the road good and full, it became a problem,” Jarvis said.

A more permanent fix will move the water north, spreading it out to other tributaries and lakes.

Dull hopes that the process can be completed over the next two years.

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