Algoma to upgrade storm water drainage into Lake Michigan

Published: Sep. 8, 2020 at 5:24 PM CDT
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ALGOMA, Wis. (WBAY) - Algoma is upgrading its storm water drainage system into Lake Michigan in an effort to improve water quality.

A few grants totaling about $400,000 allowed the city to start its ‘Storm Water Outfall Project’ this week.

“What they’re doing is they’re going to be installing a bioretention area, which will be filled with native plants and grasses and the storm water will drain into this bioretention area and be naturally filtered before entering Lake Michigan,” said Jared Heyn, Algoma city administrator.

Heyn said it’s a huge upgrade for Algoma’s storm water runoff, which flows right into the lake as is.

“With all the aquatic plants that will be in there to biofilter up take out all the suspended solids and filter some of the salt and things out of that storm water before it reaches Lake Michigan instead of dumping directly into the lake like it currently does today,” Matt Murphy, Algoma public works director.

Trees will be replaced along with the pavilion just north of Crescent Beach in Algoma.

“We’ve got a little bit of a jumpstart on some funds that we’re getting a picnic table and benches and in a bench swing that we’ve already raised money for. We’d like to do either something here on the south end of the the youth club in this grass area, or maybe a little bit further north, but that area will be also replaced,” Sarah Robertson, Algoma’s Park and Recreation director.

The sidewalk that connects the Algoma Marina to the Crescent Beach Boardwalk will have to move, but will be replaced.

The bioretention areas will be able to filter 42,000 cubic feet of storm water, which is about half of an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

“Not a huge amount but obviously an improvement over what’s happening right now,” said Heyn. “Our most valuable asset here is the lake and the beach so anything we can do to keep that clean, not only from an economic and tourism perspective, but just from an environmental perspective is obviously the ultimate goal.”

While crews hope to have this done by mid-November, the Corps of Engineers will be doing some temporary fixes along the south pier.

“They’re going to do a temporary fix this fall, but they’re planning on doing a big fix starting next year, where they will currently redo a lot of what you see out on that south wall,” said Murphy.

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