Flooding in the city of Newaygo. (Apriul 19, 2013)
NEWAYGO, Mich. (WZZM) - Newaygo County homeowners held an emotional face-off Thursday night with utility representatives. At issue; could Consumers Energy have done more to prevent their homes from being flooded?
The homeowners of many of the 76 homes affected in this area came to the meeting because they say this could have been prevented if the dam had been managed better.
Several lined up at the mic to speak: "Something needs to change. What is is going to take? What do we need to do? What are you going to do?"
Hardy pond sits above the Hardy Dam. Consumers Energy, which operates the dam, is allowed to adjust the level of the water in the pond, but representatives from the utility say they did not adjust it as much as they could have, which would have likely prevented some of the homes from flooding down river.
"You knew it was coming," said another resident. "You left it at seven feet when you said you could go to twelve. THat would have kept us from getting wet."
"If you get into a twelve foot draw-down, say in April, it takes too much water to fill the pond if you don't get a major rain event," responded D. Baker of Consumers.
Workers from Consumers say they knew flooding was coming, and could have kept more water from going through the dam, but say their main concern about water level is normally tied to snow run-off, not flooding due to heavy rains. They say it is not their job to make adjustments for flooding.
"Is there anybody we can meet with and talk about, maybe making it more possible and mitigate the peaks?" asked President of the Muskegon River Watch Group Jim Love.
This back-and-forth lasted about an hour, but the dam operators agreed to work with flood victims to hold another meeting in about a month, when they say, the damage and the entire situation can be better assessed.
We will let you know as soon as a date is set.