Grease underground postpones sidewalk

BIG RAPIDS TWP. — Possibilities for the placement of the Perry Avenue sidewalk were discussed with a Grand Rapids engineer at the Big Rapids Township Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday.
“Mike Oezer from Grand Rapids was up and went over some options with us,” said Bill Stanek, township supervisor.

Stanek said the main issue is a sewer line under where the sidewalk would go. He said one option available is to completely dig up the sewer line and put a new one in, but noted it is not a feasible option.

“The problem with digging up this sewer line and redoing it where it was, is the line is buried 17 or 18 feet. There are water lines, cables and gas lines above it. And this is close to the road. So it would be very expensive.”

He said in the past the sewer line has needed to be cleaned once or twice a year, but lately the line has needed to be cleaned more often. Grease from nearby restaurants has been causing problems for the sewer line, he said.

Stanek said the sidewalk in front of Walmart and Isabella Bank has been held off until the grease issue can be resolved. He said we do not want to pour sidewalk and have to cut it back up a year from now.

Another option available would be to leave the sewer line in place and fix what is causing the problems. Stanek said the sewer line could stay as it is for another 20 years and would not need to be moved or cleaned as often if grease were no longer an issue.

“We are working with the restaurants to cut the grease back,” he said. “One of the restaurants is letting grease through their traps and we are trying to locate it right now. We aren’t closing any restaurants down, but we are working with them to find where the grease is coming from and eliminate it.”

In other business:

  • Another firefighter was added to the roster.
  • The opening for cemetery sexton was posted.
  • The warranty on the three generators placed last year has expired. Regular maintenance will be done to keep the generators up-to-date.

Posted by Meghan Gunther-Haas

Meghan is the education reporter for the Pioneer and Herald Review. She can be reached at (231) 592-8382 or by email at

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