GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.– In just a few hours the river is expected to crest in Grand Rapids. All week, we’ve been telling you stories of how the city and volunteers have been working around the clock for days to prepare and at this point all they can do is sit back and hope their efforts were enough.
Crews at the Waste Water Treatment Plant have been working 16 hour days, building a perimeter around the plant with 4,500 yards of sand. The city also removed 3 million dollars’ worth of equipment from the plant and they say crews will continue to keep a close eye on it even after the river crests. According to the city, more than triple the usual amount of water is being processed at the plant; 150 million gallons of water over the past 3 days compared to an average of 42 million gallons/day.
Mike Lunn, Environmental Services Manager says “we have somebody going around the plant actually every hour checking; we will do that for the next 4 or 5 days till the river comes down.”
Another focus is the city’s bridges and downtown buildings, the J.W. Marriot and Amway Grand Plaza Hotel continue to pump water out of their basements. Both the Plaza Towers and Forslund Codominiums have had to be evacuated. The city also closed the North Park Bridge, Sixth Street Bridge and most recently the Fulton Bridge.
Roger Morgenstern with Consumer’s Energy says “it’s where we bring most of the power of high voltage power into downtown Grand Rapids, there are 4 lines there each of them carry 46,000 volts of electricity.”
Consumer Energy worked all day to de-energize those lines and re-route it to another transfer station, that way crews could get in and start removing the debris getting built up.
The concern was “not only that it could break off and damage our lines but also that it could comprise the bridge itself” said Morgenstern. “We’re just being overly cautious you can’t be too safe in a situation like this.”
Morgenstern says when they will open the Fulton Bridge, will depend on a few things, they will be working closely with the city to make that decision as the water recedes.