Salted with Sharks

Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Finally the Truth! About Garbage

In Community Alert, Environment, Housekeeping, On and off the Apron on May 15, 2014 at 1:43 pm

By Emily Votruba

Village garbage pickup, provided by Allied Waste (Republic Services) of Manistee, is every Friday morning. Put your trash out by 7 am to be safe. In the event of a Monday holiday, service will occur the next day (so, in our case, pickup will be Saturday).

You must purchase official red Allied Waste garbage bags. For many years, villagers bought these bags at the Village Office from our clerk, Sharyn Bower; most recently the price was $25 for a pack of ten. Because of the Village’s financial crisis, office hours have been drastically reduced, and this service is no longer provided.

You can buy bags at Glen’s in Frankfort or Shop-n-Save in Benzonia for $30 for 10 or $3 each. (“There’s no deal,” said the person who answered the phone at Glen’s.) City Hall in Frankfort sells them for $25/10—and yes, you can use theirs, because they also contract with Allied Waste. The cheapest option (not including gas) is to buy bags at the Village of Beulah office, at $21 for 10. The Beulah office is open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 am to 2 pm, or you can go there Monday through Wednesday evening from 5 to 7 when treasurer Dawn Olney is there.

It has become customary for Villagers to use their own standard-size trash receptacle, and simply hang an official garbage bag as a “red flag” over the side, secured to the can by its lid or some other means. This is perfectly acceptable. Be aware, though, that if the amount of trash in your container is significantly larger than what would likely fit in an official bag, the waste removal team may pass you by. Perhaps fly two red flags, if you’re not sure.

If you generate a lot of waste, and the whole buying-trash-bags scenario is harshing your mellow, you may choose to rent a container from Allied Waste for approximately $20 per month (that’s $15 plus fees; the Allied rep reached by phone today wasn’t totally sure of the cost). Give ’em a call at (231) 723-4940, or visit their website.

The Allied staffer also noted that yard waste pickup is available in the Village on the second Friday of every month from April through August, and then on the second and fourth Fridays from September through November. Special yard waste bags can be purchased at Glen’s for the same price. In the fall, leaves may be dumped at the swamp end of First Street. Or you can dump your leaves and pesticide-free clippings in Emily Votruba’s yard. If you spray, though, please stay away. Thank you. Note: Per a fairly recent Village ordinance, there is no burning of brush or other yard waste allowed in the Village limits. Some of your near neighbors like to keep their lungs pink, so please be considerate and follow the law.

Unlike Frankfort, the Village has no curbside large-item removal—except by your fellow Villagers, if you put out something cool. Instead, we have an annual cleanup day, where for $25 a pickup load, Village residents can bring their trash to the Village Office and Ken Bonney will help dump it in a rented Dumpster. The next one of those is this Saturday, May 17, from 9 am to 2 pm; details in the flier below. I, for one, am very excited about this.

In your ongoing effort to be a good citizen and member of our ecosystem, you may wish take advantage of Benzie County’s hazardous and electronic-waste collections (see flier below), orchestrated by the fabulous Marlene Wood, and by all means, save yourself some money by bringing your recyclables to the massive recycling bins in the Frankfort industrial park on Parkview Lane, off M-115. Paper products and anything stamped with a triangled number can go in there; glass must be placed the nearby separate glass containers. If you want to help out the local high school, take your cardboard to the trailer in the Frankfort–Elberta High School parking lot. They’ll appreciate it. Ψ





Road Ends Sign Gone

In Community Alert, E Beach, Environment, Green Elbertians, Open Season, Transportation on May 4, 2014 at 8:42 pm

The “Road Ends” sign the Village installed last June has apparently been removed (not by the Village). Jennifer Wilkins sent this photo yesterday, May 3.

Photo by Jennifer Wilkins

Photo by Jennifer Wilkins

Crystal Lake and Cold Creek

In Community Alert, Elsewhere in BenCo..., Environment, Fishing, Health, Infrastructure and Planning, Public Safety, Water on April 11, 2014 at 9:18 pm

April 15, 2014 2:30 pm

Volume of water moving through outlet is reduced, shore line lowered. Sheen still present.


Reduced flow through outlet


Sheen still present, note center blob appeared just before this picture was taken.

April 14, 2014 6:25 pm

Sheen oozing up from submerged shore continues to be flushed through the outlet.


Sheen blob rises up…


… and dissipates.

April 14, 2014 12:20 pm

A significant amount of water was moving through the pond as the inlet and outlet boards had been removed. With the high volume of water, residual sheen from a hydraulic fluid leak should have been flushed to the booms or downstream. Sheen seemed to be percolating up along the shore, upstream of the outlet water control structure.  Could the increased water flow be pulling material out of the soil?


High volume of water through the outlet


Sheen detail upstream of outlet


April 12, 2014 4:10 pm

Dan Hook, Village of Beulah reported by phone that two boards have been removed from the outlet water control structure and that the sheen seems to be significantly reduced. Current pictures should be posted tonight or early tomorrow morning.

April 12, 2104 1:50 pm

As of 11:25 pm, with removal of the first board from the inlet and outlet water control structures and the resulting increased water flow through the pond, there is still sheen on the surface, possibly more than before the boards were removed. Read yesterday’s update below for implications. Photos by Dan Kelly.





IMG_1440  IMG_1443

April 11, 2014 8pm

On Sunday April 6, 2014, a chemical / oil sheen was seen flowing into Crystal Lake from the Cold Creek settling pond.  The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued a draft report on April 7, which provides an overview of the situation. Until the situation is resolved, find ongoing updates and answers to frequently asked questions here.

Who is the dredging contractor?

The Village of Beulah’s dredging contractor is Biotech Agronomics of Beulah, and the company representative is Kevin Bonney.

The DEQ took water samples,  why aren’t the samples being tested to determine exactly what the chemical / oil is? Wouldn’t that help identify the source?

The DEQ’s priority is to determine the appropriate response, which may or may not require the samples or source to be immediately identified. The first phase was to have the contractor deploy oil absorbent booms. Preliminary inspection of the sheen samples by Greg Goundy on site and by his colleagues at the DEQ Cadillac office suggested that the sheen could be either diesel fuel or hydraulic fluid. The dredging barge did not appear to be leaking hydraulic fluid into the pond, but Kevin Bonney stated that there had been a hydraulic fluid issue prior to the barge’s launch, so the next phase was to remove the barge from the pond.

If the sheen disappears, removing the barge was the correct response and analysis of the sample is not needed – the sheen was hydraulic fluid. If the sheen persists, then the barge was probably not the source and the samples might then be analyzed to provide further clues.  Unfortunately sample analysis is expensive and may not provide enough data to identify exactly what the sheen is.

If the sheen is not hydraulic fluid from the barge, what is it?

The sheen could be 1) an oil related consumer product discarded in or near the pond, eg used oil filter or mostly empty quart oil bottle,  2) legacy contamination from 20th century industrial activity (eg trains, fuel depot) migrating towards the pond through ground water, 3) other.

Is there still a sheen on the pond?

Yes, as of 3:00 PM April 11, there was a sheen on the south edge of the pond, west against the stop logs (boards) of the outlet water level control structures and swirling just downstream of the outlet water control structures. The barge was removed on the afternoon of April 10.

What’s the next step?

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) requires that the boards be removed from the inlet and outlet water control structures so that fish can travel up Cold Creek. With the consent of the DEQ, the boards will gradually be removed by the contractor, starting at approximately 9:00 am on April 12. Oil absorbent booms will remain to catch sheen pulled downstream by the increased flow. Changing flow could effect the situation. If the sheen seems to persist or grow during the day, the barge may not have been the source and further action will be required. Citizens are encouraged to visit the pond and monitor the sheen during the day.

Check out these Facebook profiles for pix, comments and movies.

Lee Sprague
Robert Bushway