Pond residents consider dredging

Some sort of dredging might be the only feasible solution for the Upper Mill Pond in Clarkston, according to a subcommittee of the Clarkston Mill Ponds Lake Improvement Board
About a dozen pond-side residents on the subcommittee met with city engineer Gary Tressel, Sept. 5, to discuss sedimentation in the upper ponds north of Miller Road and Bluegrass in the City of the Village of Clarkston as well as Independence Township, how the dam affects the pond water levels and sedimentation, tax assessments, and property values.
“The meeting went well,” said Frank Schoebel, riparian representative on the Clarkston Mill Ponds Lake Improvement Board. “Mr. Tressel presented a history and overview of the ponds.”
The board also includes Jacy Garrison, environmental planner with the Oakland County Drain Commission; Independence Township Treasurer Rachel Loughrin; Clarkston Mayor Eric Haven; and County Commissioner Tom Middleton.
The next step is determining the composition of the underlaying soil to see if there are any contaminants.
“That would determine where the extracted soil would be disposed of,” Schoebel said.
Suggestions by attendees included looking into cost recovery or donations from gas or oil companies responsible for the contamination, and contributions from city merchants to dredge, because customers are drawn to the ponds.
Another pond solution could be raising the level of the Upper Mill Pond, Tressel said.
Challenges would include adverse impact on surrounding and upriver real estate and flood plain, and public opposition.
Michael Fetzer, pond-side resident who attended the meeting, said the Mill Pond Improvement Board and Water Resource Commission should both be composed of more elected officials and fewer political appointees.
“More transparency in operations is needed,” Fetzer said. “The failure of the Mill Ponds Improvement Board to earlier anticipate and strategically plan for more equitable funding among district members to facilitate fund growth to address the inevitable and foreseeable need to fund dredging, and to assign costs more equitably among assessment members according to their varying and disparate property assets—as well as assign liability for pond damage, represent serious political and managerial failures which will now have inescapable consequences for the entire community and our environment.”
Another meeting is planned for the first week of October.
– Phil Custodio