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Lake Buildup Concerns Residents

Lakefront residents in St. Clair Shores express concern about buildup along seawalls in recent weeks.

Residents living along Lake St. Clair, north of Masonic, are used to having idyllic views and quick access to the water for their boats.

But for at least nine homeowners, their views are being tarnished by accumulation of dead fish, algae and other plant matter which, in this warm weather, gives off a pungent smell.

Mike Gutow, who recently brought this to the attention to city officials, just bought his lakefront dream home just north of Masonic.

Over the past few weeks he has seen the mass of plant matter move north from his neighbor's house to the area in front of his home. As it moved, the buildup of matter becomes thicker and nearly able to support someone walking on it.

"I am doing what I can so it won't form a solid mass,"' said Gutow, who goes into the water to break up the mass. "This is not my issue, this is a lake issue and everyone who uses the lake should be concerned."

Gutow said he has unsuccessfully tried to contact county and state officials about the issue. He has been told that it is a natural occurrence, similar to the area near the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club in Grosse Pointe Shores.

But Gutow's neighbors, who have lived on the lake for decades, feel the buildup this year is worse than in the past.

"I have been pulling seaweed out of the lake for the last few years, but in July and August," said Joann Rivard, who has lived on the lake since 1983. "It has never been like this."

Rivard and her neighbors were concerned that included in the buildup was sewage that was dumped into Clinton River by Oakland and Macomb county communities. 

Ed Bolsendahl lays the blame on a cement peninsula that juts out into the lake about 100 feet next to his property. He has a nearly 25-foot buildup in front of his house, which he blames on the piece of land that juts out into the water.

"The lake is like a bowl, and is naturally self-cleaning," said Bolsendahl, who has lived on the lake for four years. "But you have to let it flow."

Councilman Pete Rubino, who had seen photos of the muck, visited the lakefront personally Tuesday and was taken aback by the smell and extent of the buildup.

Rubino said he has shared the concerns of residents with State Rep. Anthony Forlini (R-Harrison Township) and will try to help resolve this issue. 

After showing the extent of the buildup to Rubino and others, Gutow issued a plea, "We need help. We want this gone."

Jeff Fryer June 22, 2011 at 04:44 PM
I cannot understand why these homeowners are having so much difficulty in receiving a fix to this situation. They exert their efforts and are diligent, yet action makers need to run them through hoops just to get this resolved. Stop spending so much money on prisoners and start taking care of your law-abiding citizens who actually care about the State of Michigan and their communities before we are all forced to leave in search of States that actually run efficiently and put their people first. -Jeff F.
Mark Hagendorff June 22, 2011 at 05:02 PM
You could try contacting the ABYA the do allot for the lake clean up. They also lobby in Lancing. http://www.abya.org/ Mark H.

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