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The Grand River in downtown G.R. in slowly on the decrease

Apr 23rd, 2013 - Local News

The Grand River has flooded homes in several west Michigan communities. The river crested in Grand Rapids last night. The Grand River will continue to rise down stream and Robinson Township in Ottawa County should crest by later today.

Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell declared a state of emergency over the weekend as the city was dealing with rising flood water. Heartwell estimates the city will spend at least $500,000 on flood defenses.

Volunteers gathered to fill sandbags to try and protect area buildings. A 6-foot-high sand berm was built around the Grand Rapids waste-water treatment plant to protect the facility from area flood-waters. The facility serves 300,000 customers in the city and 14 communities.

Hundreds of people fled their homes. The Plaza Towers downtown Grand Rapids had to be evacuated and the power was shut off. Ground water pressure began to build and water flooded the basements of several buildings including the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel and JW Marriott. Pumps were used to remove thousands of gallons of water a minutes.

Untreated sewage has been leaked into the Grand River and there is a no-contact advisory for Kent and Ottawa counties.

Officials are urging people to stay out of the Grand River and other waterways that have overflowed their banks. The warning comes after the fire department rescued a kayaker at Riverside Park in Grand Rapids Sunday night.

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