Algoma is building storm runoff ponds for better Lake Michigan water at Crescent Beach
ALGOMA – There's a good reason the city is digging up land by Crescent Beach and the Lake Michigan shore, and that reason is to improve the health of the beach and the lake.
The Algoma Public Works Department is constructing two stormwater retention ponds on the north end of the beach that are designed to temporarily hold runoff from rainstorms and filter impurities from the water before it runs into the lake.
The ponds are being built where the grassy pavilion was located north of the beach, between Lake Street and the lake. Lake Street will become a one-way street as a result, and some parking space will be lost at the Algoma Youth Club, across the street from the site.
Work on the project began Sept. 8 and is expected to be completed in mid-November. Algoma Public Works Director Matt Murphy said about one-third of the work had been done as of Thursday.
Once completed, the ponds won't actually be filled with water most of the time. Instead, they'll be swales, one large and one small, covered with plants that are meant to clean stormwater that runs into the ponds.
The filtered water will then go into Lake Michigan, providing a more environmentally safe experience for those recreating on the beach. Murphy said "some" stormwater washes directly into Lake Michigan and potentially carries pollutants and bacteria with it.
"They're dry ponds. After a significant rain, they will fill," Murphy said. "The plants will do what they need to do and filter (stormwater) back into the lake."
He said the ponds are expected to catch a range of pollutants from road salt and chemicals used in road work to bacteria such as E.coli.
"We're looking at removing things like suspended solids, salt with the first pond," Murphy said. "The second pond will recondition the water before it seeps into the lake bed."
Murphy said the funding for the $400,000 project comes from grants from the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Fund for Lake Michigan, a Milwaukee-based organization that supports efforts to help the lake and its shoreline communities.
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or [email protected].
FOR MORE KEWAUNEE COUNTY NEWS: Check out our homepage
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Algoma is building storm runoff ponds for better Lake Michigan water at Crescent Beach