Kayaking Red Run
Kayaking 10 miles upon the Red Run in Warren, Michigan on Saturday July 30, 2011
Overview map created with Garmin GPS 60 and Pentax Optio on a StickyPod.
I did something I thought I would never do. Kayak the Red Run in my backyard
from Dequindre Road an entire 5 miles downstream to the Maple Lane golf course
and back another 5 miles against current. An amazing amount of money
(100’s of millions $$$) has been spent to update waterway infrastructure lately.
Is the Red Run really clean enough to convince government officials
to “suit up” and paddle alongside me ???
The claims we read in the newspapers make everything sound wonderful
and beautiful on the Clinton River. Wastewater services use
combined sewer overflow (CSO) retention treatment basins (RTBs)
that operate when heavy rain storms overload the original sewer systems.
The retention basins prevent combined sewer overflow from immediately
reaching waterways. Water is captured, transported, and treated.
When storms subside it is discharged from the retention treatment basins.
Rentention treatment basins operate only 15% to 20% of the year.
The remaining time, RTBs are on standby ready to go into operation.
In reality – storage capacity was exceeded on numerous occasions
and retention treatment basins discharged treated water often.
An illicit connection is the inappropriate connection that allows
discharge of contaminated water to the storm sewer
— i.e. like plumbing fixtures discharging to the storm sewer.
Overland discharges/runoff to storm sewers, surface water and
ground water also play a key role. These pollutants shouldn’t
“have to be directed away” from the creeks, streams, rivers and lakes.
They never should have happened in the first place.
NO permit for occupancy should have been given.
Municipalities charge permit fees for electrical work, building a storage shed,
erecting a fence, installing a central air conditioning unit outside your home,
etc., etc., etc. ad nauseum. WHY did anyone “sign off” on a building
that had illicit connections and grant an occupancy permit ?
Local governments created their own monster by not cracking the whip
from day one of the Clean Water Act of 1972 mandating action to eliminate
sources of water pollution and resource conservation.
Illicit Discharge Elimination Program in Macomb County has permanently
removed 77 million gallons of sewage from waterways in the last decade
by hunting down illicit sewer connections – at what cost to taxpayers ?
It should have been nipped in the bud to begin with.
Someone looked the other way or just didn’t care back then.
Once systems are overloaded, the wastewater has nowhere to go
and backs up in the pipes, into sewer services, and if severe enough,
into local homes and businesses causing property damage.
*Sewage water entered my basement thru the floor drains several times
over the years as well as my neighbors house The McGuckin family .*
Excess flow in the sewer system not only poses overcapacity issues,
but it also increases unnecessary costs for transporting and treating wastewater.
All discharge from the Kuhn retention center is screened, settled and disinfected,
to reduce pollutants prior to release into the Red Run drain since construction
finished in 2006. BUT the Red Run in late July 2011 doesn’t smell
“fresh”, “clean”, or “natural”, as I kayaked a 10 mile loop between
Dequindre to Maple Lawn and back again .
The claim is that ALL flow that enters the Red Run Drain is disinfected
with sodium hypochlorite, which is similar to swimming pool chlorine.
Residents that walk along the Red Run near Dequindre and Ryan Roads
often smell unpleasant odors especially on those 95 degree days.
I chose an extremely sunny day to kayak the route
– a day or two after a major rainfall event –
to ensure the e-coli counts had decreased,
burned off by the radiation from ultraviolet rays.
Taxpayers fund Infrastructure – thru Federal and State and local taxes.
Center Line recently spent about $8.8 million on pollution
abatement on six projects that included manhole rehabilitation,open-cut repair,
sectional and full length cured-in-place lining and sewer pipe grouting.
Macomb County Public Works Office has also spent another $7 million
improving the pumping system and treatment process at Chapaton.
Money, $$$ dollars, was spent constructing a 3 million gallon canal next to the
28-million Chapaton treatment basin to hold the permitted
and disinfected discharges before they are released into Lake St. Clair.
St. Clair Shores, Eastpointe and Roseville spent more than $80 million
in the past decade constructing pollution abatement projects under Macomb County
Public Works Commissioner Anthony V. Marroco.
The Fraser Beacon Lift Station was a $13 million expenditure
for a high-capacity gravity system to avoid routinely dumping UN-treated sewage
into Lake St. Clair during heavy rains.
A large $5.1-million project is underway to reduce
pollution and sedimentation in the Red Run Drain,
the Clinton River and Lake St. Clair.
Somehow I doubt my phone will ringing off the hook to escort any
government officials to paddle alongside me upon the Red Run
from the Oakland County border at Dequindre Road to Lake St. Clair.
This is the Clinton River branch of the watershed that just
isn’t – glamourous, wonderful , beautiful or great smelling.
I don’t live on a flood plain, my basement walls and floor
are usually dry, and I don’t have a sump pump.
When Oakland/Macomb officials decide to dump massive amounts of water
into the Red Run after a hard rain – the sewers back up in my basement drains
with smelly, nasty, water that doesn’t appear to be treated whatsoever.
the restoration company that came to my home
after the May storms had to decontaminate everything.
It seems quite odd to me that the City of Warren would build a Community Center
alongside the Red Run. Outdoor water recreation for kayaks, canoes, paddlesports
within this waterway doesn’t appear to be in the design plans.
It’ll be a good long while until I paddle this section again.
People need to prove to me the odors are permanently gone,
and physically show me the water is okay by dunking their body in it.
P.S. – Got comments, please post your response