The Forrest Manor Storm Sewer Project was a unique and innovative project undertaken on behalf of properties along Lake Huron that are included in a special assessment district established to manage stormwater discharge under the authority of the St. Clair County Drain Commissioner.
The original design of the system was simplistic and accomplished under criteria that reflected middle 20th century understanding of development and discharge of runoff. As “dilution was the solution to pollution”, the storm system was designed to collect the runoff generated by two small private subdivisions and pass through adjacent properties to the Galbraith Drain then ultimately flow into Lake Huron as wastewater.
As the original concept of the Forrest and Manor subdivisions was as a lower income cottage community served by two-track streets, the runoff volumes were small and the impacts to Lake Huron were considered minimal. That view remained true until the 1970’s when larger homes, paved roads, combined lots, paved patios, accessory buildings, sanitary sewers, water distribution and other utilities were replaced or added. Within this period, occupation of the properties became year-round and the amount of land creating runoff increased as did the sediment load and chemical impurity of the stormwater.
The roads were not paved or designed with a drainage system in mind, leaving ills of uncoordinated development and poor quality drainage burdening the subdivision.
Additionally, in the 1970s MDOT began a program of increasing the nearby highway capacity and safety improvements without addressing stormwater runoff.
By the time the residents called the St. Clair County Drain Office for action, the regulatory environment and the design criteria for residential stormwater management had advanced considerably. This project sought to retrofit the subdivisions and adjacent lands in the district to manage surface water runoff as well as subsurface water conditions. In doing this we were able to affect the development and treatment of discharge in such a way as to comply with St. Clair County’s NPDES discharge permit and provide a reduced discharge footprint of cleaner water to Lake Huron.
These goals have been accomplished through the efforts of the St. Clair County Drain Office with the assistance of BMJ Engineers and Surveyors, Inc. as lead technical expert with a team of sub-consultants, contractors, suppliers, and government agencies. Among the members of the team were FTCH, Inc, McDowell and Associates Inc., USDA-Rural Development, Raymond Excavating Co., Ace Asphalt Co., St. Clair Irrigation and Nursery, Northern Concrete Pipe, Inc., ADS, Mersino Dewatering and PaveDrain, Inc.
The completion of the system in late 2016 and early 2017 marked an important milestone of the project when direct discharge to the waters of Lake Huron was curtailed to zero for a 6 month period until the spring of 2017. Between the time of the connection of the outfall to Lake Huron until heavy spring rains in 2017, 100% street, yard and roof run-off from the subdivisions were infiltrated into a trench manifold system under the streets and parks of the subdivision. Improvements to the remainder of the system and isolation of the original outfall into the Galbraith Drain were similarly unburdened as the subdivision flows were disconnected from pipes serving mostly wooded parcels.
This project was completed using financing from the USDA-Rural Development Agency which has been financed over a period of 30 years. The experience with the design and loan process was seamless. Acquisition of new easements and records of the establishment of the system were coordinated through the Drain Office along with BMJ and the project legal counsel, Woodworth and Associates. FTCH, Inc. successfully worked to assist the Drainage District in obtaining a SAW Grant to assist with planning of the project. MDOT continued its commitment to Michigan’s Drain Commissioners with a contribution that assisted in retrofitting the system to filter the stormwater and reduce runoff volumes.
The professional approach to construction exhibited by Raymond Excavating and its sub-contractors in accommodating the vehicular traffic and pedestrian access needs of the residents within the very dense subdivisions during construction made the project progress much less painful than anticipated. BMJ and Raymond Excavating worked together to accommodate residents with a complimentary shuttle during street closures, communication of construction schedule through door hangers and follow up communication with association leaders. New streets and driveways are now better drained so to endure longer. The runoff from the highly developed and dense neighborhoods is filtered before leaving the land and utility infrastructure is less burdened with an irregular and variable water table.
In conclusion, the Forrest Manor Storm Sewer Project is a model success for St. Clair County. The project exceeded our expectations for performance, scheduling and budget. We will continue striving to make more of our projects reflect the approach taken on the project.
“In an area originally intended for small, seasonal cottages in the 1920’s that has developed into a year round residential neighborhood where structures and concrete take up an entire lot, the storm sewers were simply inadequate to the point of being dangerous. After a major flooding event in the area, the SCC Drain Office determined that the system could no longer function to preserve property. Enter BMJ Engineers and Surveyors with a creative design that is functional and aesthetically pleasing. Additionally, during the construction there was a BMJ rep available at all times to answer questions and address concerns, even providing a golf cart and driver to take residents to and from their vehicles. The communication before, during and until project completion was excellent. I am confident that the project corrected a significant drainage problem that will protect people and property for years to come, much to the credit of our friends at BMJ.”
Jorja Baldwin, Fort Gratiot Supervisor
The City of Marysville maintains about 50 miles of water main and 48 miles of streets. The City contracted with BMJ for design and construction engineering services to replace 0.7 miles of aging water main that was experiencing frequent breaks, causing disruption to the residents’ access to water and costing the Department of Public Works significant amounts of time and money to repair. Additionally, some streets which the water main served were becoming severely deteriorated. This resulted in a project where several roadway segments would receive new pavement and reliable water mains that would not need significant maintenance for many years.
BMJ provided full design and construction engineering services to the City of Marysville for the project including Design Survey, Design Engineering, Bidding, Contract Administration, Construction Survey, Construction Observation and Materials Testing. The project was completed on time and on budget and resulted in 0.7 miles of new water main and 1.0 mile of new roadway.
The City of Memphis is a small quiet community located on the border of Macomb and St. Clair County. Bordman Road is the main road that runs through the City. The most recent large scale road improvement project within the City took place in 1988, therefore Bordman Road had been largely overlooked and had fallen into disrepair and well beyond preventative maintenance rehabilitative measures.
Reconstruction of the entire stretch of roadway as a single project was not in the City’s financial budget, instead they phased the project over a period of time. BMJ worked on behalf of the City preparing an application for funding through the Michigan Department of Transportation Improvement Fund, which was awarded for a portion of the project cost. BMJ also provided full design engineering and construction engineering services for the roadway reconstruction.
The City is currently in the planning stages for the next phase of work to be completed in 2021.
Evergreen Park is located at the intersection of M-53 and the South Branch of the Cass River in Sanilac County, Michigan. In 1999, the Sanilac County Parks Board began converting the rustic day-use only park into a modern campground. Due to the popularity of the park, the Parks Board decided to expand to include 14 additional modern service sites for the 2018 camping season. BMJ acted as the design engineer for the expansion providing design engineering, design surveying, construction observation and materials testing services. BMJ incorporated the Park Boards’ vision into their design, placing roadways, campsites and buildings in locations that would maximize the preservation of the park’s valuable natural features.
In 2018, BMJ completed three projects for St. Clair Community College.
BMJ provided design and construction related engineering and surveying services to TMP Architecture, Inc. in support of the SC4 student dormitory complex. The college purchased and renovated a vacated hotel to now offer 43 two-person dorm rooms to SC4 students.
When SC4 addressed their inadequate parking due to their increased enrollment, BMJ was there to provide civil design and construction related engineering and surveying services. An open space located between the Fine Arts Building and the James C. Acheson Welcome Center was converted into a parking lot that now provides an additional 97 spaces to students and faculty.
The A.J. Theisen Applied Technology Building underwent major renovations to transform into a cutting edge applied health sciences learning facility to support the college’s highly acclaimed nursing program. BMJ again partnered with TMP Architecture, Inc. to provide the civil design and construction related engineering and surveying services for the completion of this renovation.
Worth Twp. residents and businesses have long been dependent upon private on-site sewage treatment systems. Water sampling suggested strong evidence that many of these systems had failed and were discharging raw or partially treated sewage into the waters of Michigan. Worth Twp. became under the directive by the State of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to proceed with measures to address these water quality concerns.
The Township selected Prein & Newhof, Inc. of Grand Rapids, Michigan as the lead consultant and contracted BMJ to provide sub-consulting services for specific project needs. The project was broken into five separate construction contracts. Contract 1 included the construction of the treatment lagoon, Contract 2 was for all the sewage lift stations, Contracts 3, 4 and 5 were for the mainline sewer, building service leads and force mains.
BMJ prepared the topographical survey for engineering design, provided construction layout survey, construction observation, materials performance testing and project management assistance services.
Photos courtesy of William Vogan Architects in Port Huron, Michigan
The City of Marysville will construct a new 8,000 square foot City Hall next to their existing Public Safety building on Delaware Avenue. The design team of William Vogan Architects of Port Huron and BMJ worked to create a plan for a modern facility to meet the current and future needs of the city’s government and residents.
BMJ provided engineering and surveying services for the design phase and will be providing ongoing engineering and surveying support for the construction phase.
The site design included paving and grading plans for a new parking lot, storm drainage, water and sewer services to the building and assistance with permitting for soil erosion and wetlands.
Construction will start in early summer 2018 at the site and is expected to be completed in summer of 2019. The city will move out of its current city hall facility located north of the new site along Delaware Avenue.
Photos courtesy of Thompson-Phelan Group Inc in Anchorville, Michigan
BMJ was contracted by Thompson-Phelan Group, Inc. of Anchorville, Michigan to provide engineering and surveying services as part of their design/build team.
The project involved the complete renovation of an existing building on a small site along Gratiot Avenue in Roseville. The small site was challenging to provide sufficient parking for the new facility, while also maintaining circulation for the new drive-through lanes added to the rear of the building.
Additionally, the site’s storm drainage had to be designed to extend off-site across an adjacent property to discharge into the city’s storm drainage system at an intersection over 500 feet from the site on opposite side of the block. BMJ provided the necessary engineering and surveying services to design storm drainage to reach the intersection, as well as creating the easement documents necessary for the owner to have the storm sewer constructed across the adjacent property.
The result was a beautiful new facility for Motor City Co-Op Credit Union in a highly visible location on the city’s main thoroughfare, with a functional site to meet the credit union’s needs for years to come.