BARRY COUNTY, Mich. - Homeowners on several Barry County lakes are fighting to keep the water out of their homes.
County officials say the flooding is an emergency situation for many homeowners. They're now working with the DEQ and DNR on a long-term solution but haven’t decided how they’re going to ease the burden on each lake. They’re now asking the general public for their input.
“The Upper and Lower Crooked Lake are almost four feet over their legal lake level,” said Jim Dull, Barry County Drain Commissioner.
The Upper and Lower Crooked Lakes act as a basin for the water shed in the area. However, there are no outlets from there, which means flood waters will continue to rise. Dull says these lakes have been rising for the past 25 years.
“So we have to find a place to dump somewhere like 4 billion gallons of water,” Dull said. “But we don’t have any property to put it on because everything has already flooded.”
Dull understands the problems will only get worse if the flood waters get into private wells, contaminating water for the locals. He says the flooding has accelerated due to an increase in housing developments along these lakes coupled with heavy Spring rainfall.
“All the water from the Delton River also comes in from storm sewers and drains into the Upper and Crooked Lakes,” Dull said. “We also have the Southwest Sewer Authority that puts water in there and the whole drainage district of and around Glasby Lake too.”
The county is meeting June 20 to discuss solutions, inviting anyone to generate ideas and join them as they seek a solution to this growing problem.
“I’ve lived here for 28 years and I’ve never seen the lake level this high,” said David Bolton, a resident living along the Upper Crooked Lake. “By Fall, I’ll be flooded and there goes everything I’ve worked my whole life for.”