By Mike Kruzman /

Howell City Council has approved a needed evaluation to the City drain to be performed by the County.

Drain Commissioner Brian Jonckheere spoke with Council about the need to evaluate the drain at their latest meeting. A pair of flooding incidents at the Red Cross building, one in August of 2020 and the other roughly a decade earlier, have caused concern for the drain which was originally established in 1898 and later replaced by the Michigan Department of Transportation in the early 2000s.

Jonckheere said that while, generally when you come downstream the pipe gets bigger, the City drain in one section goes from 36-inches to 42-inches down to 14-inches. The 14-inch pipe stretches across roughly 200 feet just west of Highlander Way, north of Grand River.

City manager Erv Suida noted that when you have a pipe that small, anytime you get limbs or a big ball of leaves, there is a risk of it plugging up. He feels the City needs to evaluate what can be done to help alleviate any future downstream flooding.

The Drain Commissioners told Council they would to clean and televise the pipe, and have engineers assess the condition and outline possible improvements. The project was approved at a cost not to exceed $8,000. As for replacing the pipe, it was believed that that would be more difficult to finance. At roughly $200 per foot, it could cost between $300,000 and $400,000.