Despite county actions, GR has no plans to declare state of emergency
Updated: Friday, April 19 2013, 08:19 PM EDT
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Friday afternoon, Kent County declared a state of emergency due to flooding.
The City of Grand Rapids has not, and has no plans to. But the Grand River has already risen above 20 feet high and is steadily rising. It's not expected to crest until Monday.
As a precaution the City has closed the historic Sixth Street bridge, and we're told some companies near the river are evacuating.
The City is also bypassing floodgates and pumping water out of storm sewers into river, and Mayor George Heartwell is asking people to reduce water consumption to alleviate the stress on the system.
The Grand River is drowning parts of trees and office buildings but city leaders believe the flood walls will protect downtown. A bigger concern is the city's waste water treatment plant.
"If that floods every person in the city is likely to have a minor inconvenience. They won't really be able to use their toilet," said Daniel Schoonmaker of the West Michigan Environmental Action Council.
He says it would be an environmental and financial disaster, one hundreds of volunteers are trying to prevent by making sandbags that will line the flood wall.
Heartwell also talked about why the City hasn't declared a state of emergency.
"We're not there and we're not going to cry wolf because we've made the investments over the years to protect city against flooding," he said. "Where you get free money, grants, or low-interest money from the federal government only happens with the declaration of a disaster. We are not going to have a disaster here."