The City of Hillsdale is looking to remove the Mill Pond dam.
The Department of Public Services had recent intentions of placing a plastic liner inside the Mill Pond dam, because the corrugated metal pipe that helps waterflow through the dam was deteriorating. As excavation began, it was determined that the metal pipe was so badly deteriorated that the plastic liner couldn’t be placed inside the spillway. The metal pipe was then filled with concrete to prevent further damage. The flow of water through the pipe, however, was lost.
Jake Hammel, director of public services, said the city is now in the process of obtaining permits that would allow a couple of inches to be removed from the spillway and allow more water to flow over, compensating for the rusted pipe that has been covered with concrete.
“We’ve been keeping an eye on it as it has been falling apart,” Hammel said. “Rather than risk a dam breach, we covered up the deteriorating pipe with concrete because it was leaking through the rusting pipe.”
Hammel said he has received favorable comments in regards to the permits and he is optimistic the project will begin within the next couple months.
The project is intended to minimize the pressure on the dam and embankment, gaining capacity for water flow, while making up for what was lost because of the no longer functioning pipe, and ensuring the safety of the dam.
Hammel said he didn’t want to worry residents with the the state of the dam and with details of the upcoming project.
“There is no reason to be worried and houses are not in danger,” he said.
City officials estimated that when the project is complete, the level of Mill Pond will be reduced between six inches and a foot. Though water flows from Baw Beese Lake over the spillway of the Mill Pond dam, Baw Beese is not affected by the Mill Pond and this project will have no effects on water levels at Baw Beese.
Hammel said it’s more financially responsible to seek this project of notching, rather than replace the pipe, because the long term goal is to eventually remove the dam, and this new project is a step in that direction. Hammel also added that the pond doesn’t serve any economic or environmental purpose, and The Michigan Department of Natural Resources expressed their support of the eventual Mill Pond dam removal. According to Hammel, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality commended the way the city has handled the process.
The entire removal process is still a few years down the road.