State requires corrections at park project


Aug. 22, 2015  PLYMOUTH EAGLE.

Plymouth Michigan News



Don Howard

Staff Writer



Officials from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) have determined that the 4-acre, 209-spot parking lot under construction in McClumpha Park in Plymouth Township is in violation of state regulations.

Following a second meeting with state regulators early Monday morning, Hae-Jin Yoon, Southeast Michigan supervisor for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) said the township needs to make improvements to comply with state regulations by changing the location of the outflow at the parking lot site, “so runoff water goes in more of an upland area.”

Yoon said with the current design most of the (runoff) water goes into storm drains that empty too close to the valley which is a designated Rouge River sub- watershed. The storm drains lead to perforated underground piping. Runoff water, Yoon explained, can contain many types of contaminants, including gas and oil from automobiles which can seriously threaten water quality.

“They (Plymouth Township) need to change the location of the outflow…” Yoon explained. She was referring to is the same area township officials have designated for proposed construction of an outdoor amphitheater where vegetation was removed and core drillings for soil samples were completed last year.

This was the second meeting with the MDEQ officials and the township. Yoon and Wayne County Water Quality Analyst Andrew Bahrou met with Township Supervisor Shannon Price, Township Park Director Mike Mitchell, Township Engineer Patrick Felrath and David Richmond, project manager from Spalding DeDecker, the consulting engineers who replaced the original project engineering firm, on Aug. 7 to discuss changes to the plans that would mitigate the problems and bring the township into compliance with recommended MDEQ requirements.

Following the second meeting on Monday, both Yoon and Sally Petrella, volunteer monitoring program manager from Friends of the Rouge, confirmed that the township was in the process of developing revised drawings and delving into the plans. Yoon said the township had agreed to change the plans to mitigate the water flow. Price did not attend the meeting Monday morning but said that his understanding of the meeting was that it went well.

“Everybody’s on the same page…nobody’s trying to hide anything, everybody’s happy,” Price said.

“They are addressing the problems,” Yoon said Monday. “They’re changing the outfall location to go up stream.”

Petrella said the township also promised to clean silt out of the mouth of the stream. The silt had migrated to the area following the installation of a new drainpipe. She said with the revised plan, the storm water would run along and near a path that is close to the pond.

She added that answers to her questions about a proposed new amphitheater in the sub-watershed area were “evasive…they said that plans (for the amphitheater) were off the table.”

Price said later that there is no plan to build the amphitheater right now. “We’re going to do an open space and requirement plan and find out,” he said.

Local environmentalists from Friends of the Rouge have been sampling the creek that flows through Plymouth Township Park since 2003, Petrella said. The environmental group is worried about the impact of the new construction on the pristine waters in the nearby creek and pond, especially after identifying a rare species of fish called the Least Darter.

“We currently know of no other location where this sensitive darter can be found in the watershed. All darters are sensitive to changes in water quality and habitat,” she said.

In an email communication addressed to the MDEQ, to the attention of Yoon, Petrella said, “Changes to the land around this stream will impact water quality. Adding 4 acres of impervious surface will increase the amount of runoff into the Rouge and lead to increased temperature, sedimentation, nutrient enrichment and other pollutants.

“In a degraded system such as the Rouge, this creek is one of the remaining good quality areas. Not mitigating for this parking lot could be the tipping point that would lead to declining water quality and the loss of another good quality stream in the Rouge. The Rouge has so few good quality areas that remain. There are many techniques to mitigate the negative effects of impervious surfaces on creeks that could be easily incorporated. We would be happy to pro- vide information about these techniques.”

“We’re working with the MDEQ and going to make some changes…We’re trying to work with everybody to make them happy,” Richmond said.

Felrath said that the township would work with the state regarding the problems.

“We’re working to insure we’re in accordance with their (MDEQ) requirements,” he said. He would not comment on the impact or cost factors.

The attention of the state followed a one-day stop work order issued by Wayne County Land Resource Management Division two weeks ago. Officials from MDEQ Southeast Michigan Industrial and Storm Water unit initiated an investigation of the park waterways, demanding the town- ship meet post-construction requirements for run-off water in work order as no soil erosion permit had been issued. The work order read, “You have been ordered to cease and desist all earth disturbing activity until such time as a SESC permit is obtained.” Wayne County officials con- firmed that the township allowed construction to begin in the sub-watershed area without seeking or obtaining the proper permits.

Within 48 hours, the contractor, Merlo Construction, resumed work at the parking lot, armed with an SESC permit that Price said was previously applied for but delayed because of a check the county failed to cash.

In what he described as a separate issue, Price said that concrete at the site “has to come out.”

“The big middle section (of concrete) that was just poured has to come out. The ready mix company poured the wrong stuff…it’s at no cost to us or Merlo, but it has to be replaced,” he said.


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