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Great Lakes Article:

Causeway water level down, but only for a few weeks
Robert C. Burns
The Muskegon Chronicle

Low-water conditions are a fact of life around here lately, but nowhere does the water appear to be lower than along Veterans Memorial Causeway.

The strip of land between Muskegon and North Muskegon that was once dubbed "Michigan's Most Beautiful Mile" is showing several feet of muddy bottomland.

But that has nothing to do with the water level of Lake Michigan and its tributaries. It's like that for a reason.

According to Ric Scott, who oversees city parks as head of the Department of Leisure Services, the city recently pumped the Causeway lagoon to its current level at the request of Consumers Energy Co.

Consumers asked the city to lower the lagoon level so that it could install underground piping to connect the utility's former fly ash dump site to settling ponds just north of the B.C. Cobb generating plant.

The movement of water from one side of the Causeway to the other is in conjunction with ongoing pollution abatement and closure of the former fly ash site.

As explained by Consumers spokesman Roger Morgenstern, the utility is attempting to "dewater" and then excavate the 60-acre site prior to laying down an impermeable plastic liner.

The Consumers site cleanup will be accomplished in stages -- one 10-acre "cell" at a time.

Morgenstern said the 3-inch plastic pipe should be in place within two weeks, after which the city will bring the Causeway pond back to its normal level.

A similar water level reduction occurred a year or so ago when Consumers removed an old sulfur line extending to the former Zephyr refinery to the northeast.

Morgenstern said crews will be installing the dewatering line through the existing tunnel to minimize disruption of vehicle traffic along the Causeway.

The city has completed agreements for possible use of the Consumers remediation site as an outdoor sports complex, once the cleanup work on the fly ash disposal site is finished.

© 2002 Muskegon Chronicle. Used with permission

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