Crews work to restore water flow on Au Train River

Residents still experiencing flooding in their homes and yards
This is a recording of the TV6 Early News.
Published: Dec. 27, 2022 at 5:11 PM EST
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AU TRAIN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - An excavator moved ice and snow on the mouth of the Au Train River Wednesday afternoon continuing the process that began Tuesday night to remove the ice dam causing flooding.

Au Train Township Supervisor Michelle Doucette says when crews stopped working Wednesday afternoon water was beginning to move through the ice dam.

“Water is not gushing but flowing freely,” Doucette said. “There is a gauge that has been placed on the bridge to measure the water level. We will be looking at the water level again this evening and we will start the whole process again tomorrow.”

Munising-based construction company Seaberg Enterprise has been doing the ice removal. Owner Wyatt Seaberg says the process of restoring the water flow needs to be done carefully which can take some time.

“With all of the water being saturated, it makes everything super soft, and if you were just to open the gates so to say all of the soft materials would wash out from underneath the bridge,” Seaberg said. “As much as everybody wants it to be a quick process to dry out their basements and make the water disappear the right way to go about is slow and steady.”

For now, the LMAS Health Department has issued warnings for homeowners along the river telling residents if their wells have been flooded, they need to be disinfected and the water tested before drinking.

Meanwhile, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy says it is not concerned about widespread environmental contamination.

“At this point, there are no known concerns about any other waters ways or in the river itself or the lake,” Michigan EGLE Spokesperson Jeff Johnston said. “When you think about the size of Lake Superior any contamination is going to quickly get diluted.”

Doucette says after the flooding has receded the township will have to work on a long-term plan to ensure the river is safe against future flooding events.

Follow the Au Train Township Facebook page for updated information.

Last published: Dec 28, 2022 12:22:11 PM

AU TRAIN TOWNSHIP - Ice buildup over Christmas weekend has caused the Au Train River to flood.

Ice formed a dam under the M-28 bridge, near where the Au Train River connects to Lake Superior.

Residents in the area have water in their yards and basements. Au Train Resident Brian Edgette says his septic system is backed up and his neighbors are having other problems.

“Some of my neighbor’s wells have failed already,” Edgette said. “I am fortunate enough to have this continuing to pump about 140 gallons per minute in my crawl space to save my well. The septic is another story I can’t control on the outside ground level.”

Au Train Township Supervisor Michelle Doucette says at a meeting tonight, the township board will approve a plan to remove the blockage at the township’s expense of $5,000 to $10,000.

“We are going to break through the icebergs in about 50-foot increments to try and get a small flow of water going,” Doucette said. “We do not want to get a big gush of water due to the M-28 bridge. We will be working on this for the next two to three days and slowly getting the water to recede.”

Edgette says the situation is only getting worse.

“Hopefully the township is doing its part,” Edgette said. “I know most of you don’t live on this riverfront and I guess that is a fault of my own to live on this beautiful riverfront property, it is my problem. It is also in the best benefit of the township to get this resolved because contamination is a severe risk right now.”

Doucette says ice excavation could begin tonight, following expected approval at an emergency township board meeting at 6 p.m. in the Au Train Township Hall.

We will continue to follow this story and have an update on your TV6 news tomorrow.