Spray Drift Incident, September, 2011

Reported to NPS by TVZ, 9/9/11:

I had not checked for illegal drifting at the sewage area this year, as it was already known to have occurred last year, and it was my understanding that no changes had been made in the system since then. Also, Leelanau Rangers started doing inspections last year, so I hoped we could rely on them. Recently, however, I learned that the operator has been shutting down certain rows of sprinklers in hopes that this would solve the drift problem. I also heard that the Rangers had not found time for this situation this year. So I went by Parcel B Wednesday afternoon.

When I first got there, everything looked fine. But after a while, a breeze picked up, and spray began to blow over the easement line. In fact, it blew well beyond the warning signs, and into the unposted Park area beyond, jeopardizing any unsuspecting visitors. I immediately went to a neighbor’s phone and reported the situation to Park dispatch. A short video clip of the incident can be viewed at,

This incident illustrates the problem–Winds are variable, particularly here near Lake Michigan. A day might be basically calm; but wait a bit, and breezes occasionally blow through, creating hazardous conditions in the Park; or, the wind can change directions.

Because illegal drift was readily found on the first and only inspection conducted this year, it can be assumed to be occurring with some frequency. Clearly, further changes to the system are needed, and should be required. We don’t need to wait for a monitoring system. We know already that changes are needed now.  In particular, something needs to be done about the hazardous spray that drifts into the unposted areas, where it can be inhaled by unsuspecting visitors.

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