137 Years OLD
Village of Crawville now Village of Fruitport
A Need For Sewer
By Bruce Raymond
At the Fruitport Village Council Meeting January 2001 New Business Sewer
for the Village was proposed. At 98% of the meetings since, sewer updates
discussion held under Old Business.
Since the late eighteen hundreds common methods of human waste disposal
in the village were direct discharge into water ways, lake, pit privies and
septic systems. Direct discharge of any household human waste into water
ways or lakes has ceased. The last know operating pit privy was remove from
the village 1972. Now the only method used for household liquid and human
waste disposal is the septic system.
Originally there were 5 basic lot sizes 150 X 300 and 100 x 200. A large
number of these large lots have been split two or three times. Other plated
lot sizes were 66 x150, 66 x125 and 50x130.
Starting in the late 1930's but coming into full bloom after WWII in the
late 40's and early 50's was the use of modern detergents, house hold
cleaning compounds, garbage disposals, dishwashers and washing machines.
Defining different types of effluent that go into a
Black water or septage - Human waste carried off by toilet, urinals.
Gray water - all domestic waste not covered in above, including bath,
lavatory, laundry and kitchen sink.
Defining water source:
Municipal water system
Potable well - (8+ residential homes still use well water for
Non-potable well - water used for irrigation, etc, but not for human
Defining water ways and Lake:
Spring Lake is a recreational body of water.
Spring Lake back waters east of 3rd St and north of Bridge St.
The head waters of the water way flowing between 8th St and 7th St
start at the edge of the septic drain fields behind the elementary school,
ending by going underground in a pond at the dead end of 7th St between
Peach St and Pine St.
The largest of the flowing water way in the village has three
branches. The first branch starts behind Bethel Baptist Church and runs
south east under the road at 5th and Beach then into the main stream. The
second branch flows and drains an area north of Oak between 4th and 5th.
It runs south under Oak St where it eventually joins the main stream. A
third branch comes from behind the Lappo property following the ditch on
4th St to a point about 150 feet south of Oak where it passes under 4th St
to the south west and joins the main stream. After the three branches join
into a flowing stream that runs to Spring lake west of 4th St.
At the dead end of Second St coming south from Beach there is gully
with water running that comes from the properties along Beach St and 3rd
A stream that comes from the township west of Brooks road on Pontaluna
Rd empties into the back waters of Spring lake.
Norris Creek is a major stream feeding the back water at the dead end
of Brooks Rd.
Areas of property used for such purposes as pools, trees, shrubs,
concrete slabs, buildings, driveway, parking, ground that won't perk or
contains an unusable drain field and similar areas which would prohibit,
hinder, or affect the installation, operation, or maintenance of onsite
sewage disposal system.
By 1975 a municipal water system was installed in the township and
throughout the village under public works act 185. The water assessment was
$1050 plus $160 tap charge, 6% interest if paid over time on the tax rolls.
In 2003 the assessment is $5642 plus $900 tap charge or $1050for a meter
pit. 8% interest if paid over time on the tax rolls . Now in 2003 this
represents a 5.5 times increase in commercial construction cost plus a 2%
increase in interest if paid over time on the tax rolls.
Sept 11, 1972 the township Passed a resolution for County Financing Sewer
System. The township board has determined that it is necessary, for the
public health safety and welfare of the township, that sewer collection
facilities be constructed for the benefit of the residents of the Township
of Fruitport. Joining with the County under public act 185 to share the cost
of a sewer collection site. The village was not part of this agreement.
A $6.2 million sewer grant for the north end of Fruitport Township (the
south end of the township and village were not included) was acquired prior
to Supervisor T Bringedahls first term in office. He later abandon the grant
as to go forward with it was an unsavory political decision. By May 1978
with grant expenditures being paid back the grant was closed.
Problems that have to be faced:
Defined by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the
great lakes basin is in a sever drought lowering the water table. The very
low levels of Spring Lake confirm this fact. 28 years of a municipal water
system have created an artificially higher water table. The existing
drought condition counters the artificial water table from city water so
there appears to be little problem. All we have to do is look back to 80s
and early 90s when we were experiencing the reverse. There were areas in
the village that had drainage problems and flooded. By installing a
sanitary sewer system the artificial water table would disappear lessening
flooding or wet yard problems brought on by times of heavy rains. After
1997 new construction on a lot less then 1acre requires that the water
table be at least 24 inches down. It is foreseeable that a failed system
on less then 1 acre of land would require a raised drain field.
The national average household septic system lasts about 25 years,
depending on how well it was designed and maintained. According to
Muskegon Counties Department of Environmental Quality the currant
average16 years when problems start to develop with some as little as two.
The school system is in dire need of municipal sewer. They have a vast
amount of ground that 7has restricted use because they are used for septic
drain fields that are aging. Protection of sanitary conditions for
children at the school must be a priority.
There exist the possibility of homes and business being abandon
because of obstructed land or lack of suitable drain field ground. This
has occurred in Baily which is located in the Casnovia Twp.
The septic tank and drain tile seldom fail. The soil in the drain
field fails and becomes un-usable when regular pumping of the septic tank
is not done to assure adequate retention time for separation and settling
of solids, allowing them to flow into the field along with greases, scum's
The use of garbage disposal and pump up basement toilets put
emulsified sludge into the septic tank that does not settle out but
remains in the water that goes directly into the drain field causing early
With the installation of the municipal water system in 1975 water
conservation has all but disappeared. High water users are families that
run their dishwashers and washing machines daily. The greater the load of
water the sooner the drain field will fail.
Heavy loading of ground water with tons of Phosphates and Nitrates
from dish and cloths washers plus other cleaning chemicals that eventually
find there way into Fruitport village waterways and into Spring Lake.
The potential of being forced to install a sanitary collection system
regardless of cost or desirable timing. Under the Clean Water Act local
government can be forced to stem the flow of contaminants from private
septic systems into streams and lakes.
Escalating costs. At present the interest are the lowest in currant
history. Construction bids are coming in at a ten year low. Delaying
construction will raise the cost substantially.
Eventually there will come a time when a sanitary collection system
will have to be built but at what cost. If the current $9,750 cost
represent a 5.5 times increase in commercial construction over the past 30
years, 30years from now it will cost $53,625 or higher. If built now It
would be paid for in 30 years.
With all of the dwellings that front on Spring Lake, Spring Lake back
waters and the village water ways it becomes apparent the run off of
nitrates and phosphates is wide spread throughout the Fruitport Village
Positive End Results:
Correct the above mentioned deficiencies.
Higher level of a sanitary waist disposal system.
Maintain and improve the value of our homes and community.
Sewers run in the center of all street right of ways.
Major cost in sewers is the re-paving of streets.
Future road maintenance will be reduced.
The standard of Streets will be equal throughout the village.
Intersections will be uniform with curbing.
Realigning streets to the center of right of way.
Correcting street elevations to eliminate vision obstructions.
Streets that received 2 inch of seal coat over gravel 18 years ago
will be upgraded to full pavement.
Street maintenance will be reduced for many years.
Village operating costs stabilize for years to come by eliminating the
threat of being forced to install sewer at an unknown higher cost.
Capturing the cost of construction and not passing it on to future