Vortechs System Helps Protect Famous Fishing Grounds

Manistee, Mich., a major tourist destination known for its charter boats and sport fishing, is located on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Famous for its fishing tournaments and record-breaking catches, the community's livelihood is closely tied to the surrounding watershed.

To the west of the village lies Manistee Lake, a direct outlet to the bountiful fishing grounds of Lake Michigan. Route 31 runs along its northeast shore, supporting an average of 16,000 vehicles per day. Substantial commercial and residential growth along this four-lane highway has significantly increased the amount of polluted urban runoff flowing into the lake. With the economy of this lakeside community contingent on maintaining the ecological balance of Manistee Lake, treating this runoff became a major concern.

For several years, officials at the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) looked at water quality solutions for Manistee Lake.

"We knew our current system could not treat the amount of urban runoff flowing into the lake from Route 31, especially with development continuing to increase" stated MDOT official, Craig Taylor. "We had to find a solution to protect the lake."

To aid in their quest, MDOT applied for and received the Clean Michigan Initiative (CMI) Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).

Once funding was in place, MDOT began looking at a variety of options.

"We entertained using vegetated areas around the lake, but ruled them out because property values in this area are so high," stated Taylor. "We needed to make the best use of land and still provide attractive and effective sediment removal."

When a new condominium project, Riverwalk, was proposed along Route 31, a decision had to be made. MDOT began researching below-grade treatment systems. Substantial field-testing with proven total suspended solids (TSS) removal and product history were important considerations in the product selection process.

Ultimately, they chose the Vortechs System. With its 15-year track record and collection of third-party test results, the system specifically targets the village's pollutants of concern. The patented design of the system eliminates turbulence and provides positive removal efficiencies throughout the full range of operation.

A Vortechs model 11000 was installed on the Riverwalk site, just 50 yards from Manistee Lake.

"Installing the unit under a parking lot saved valuable land for commercial development," noted Taylor. "It made this project possible."

Complete installation of the Vortechs System took one and a half hours, from the time the unit was lifted off the delivery truck until the final manhole was placed.

"Even though this was a large unit being installed in wet soil, installation was really easy," stated Jeff Peltier, project manager for Elmer's Crane and Dozer Inc. "Vortechnics provided on time delivery of the unit and all the support we needed, when we needed it."

The system was an ideal solution for the stormwater problems of this lakeside community. "We are pleased with the outcome of this project," stated Taylor. "Manistee Lake is one step closer to protecting these famous fishing grounds for future anglers to enjoy."

Becky Metivier is a Marketing Specialist with Vortechnics, Inc. out of Scarborough, Maine.

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