Bauer Drain Relocation and Sycamore Creek Mitigation

The Bauer Drain is an open channel County Drain located in Stockbridge and White Oak Townships in Ingham County. The drain was established in 1946 and is a tributary of the Doan Creek Drain and the Red Cedar River. The drain is 1.7 miles long and was established to serve primarily agricultural and single family rural residential properties. The Drainage District is 506 acres and contains 71 parcels. Sixty percent of the land and 54% of the parcels within the Drainage District are in Stockbridge Township and 40% of the land and 46% of the parcels are in White Oak Township.

Since the 1960’s many petroleum pipelines have been constructed across the state, a number of which intersect in Ingham County in the vicinity of the Bauer Drain. Storage and switching facilities for these petroleum pipelines began to develop along the banks of the Bauer Drain and today there are 13 storage tanks with the capacity to store 118 million gallons of crude and refined petroleum product adjacent to the open channel of the Bauer Drain. This amount of product would fill Spartan Stadium 140%.

There are three oil companies that own land and/or tank farms adjoining the Bauer Drain within the Bauer Drain Drainage District. Wolverine Pipe Line and Enbridge Energy own the properties within the Drainage District where the Tank Stations are located and Marathon Pipe Line owns one of the tanks within Wolverine Pipe Line’s Tank Station.

In Spring of 2011, an underground leak occurred that contaminated the groundwater and subsequently, the Bauer Drain. This leak originated from the Marathon Pipe Line tank. During initial response and cleanup of the leak, the Bauer Drain was blocked to contain the contaminants, which left the upstream portion of the Drainage District without an outlet. After the leak occurred, Marathon Pipe Line purchased property along the Bauer Drain adjacent to the underground leak to construct a facility to clean and monitor the ground water. Cleanup efforts there are on-going today.

In November 2018, a petition was received from White Oak Township to relocate the Drain away from the Tank Stations and the on-going clean up site.   The petition was deemed necessary by a statutory Board of Determination in December 2018.

The Bauer Drain Project consists of construction of 4,400 feet of 48-inch equivalent elliptical and round RCP storm sewer to relocate 3,266 feet of open channel drain that is currently flowing through the center of the petroleum storage facilities. Complicating this relocation, the excavation depths required range between 8 and 25 feet. As a further complication, 142 feet of the storm sewer must be constructed as an inverted siphon to avoid conflict with major petroleum transmission pipelines in the area. The inverted siphon has to be installed between cast-in-place junction chambers designed to control flow and provide for regular maintenance. Two other cast-in-place junction chambers will be installed to control stormwater discharge from the three oil company properties. New state of the art emergency shutoffs will be installed within these junction chambers in the event of a spill or other industrial incident affecting storm water runoff. These emergency shutoff points are designed in such a way that flow from the upstream portion of the Bauer Drain Drainage District is unobstructed when there are future needs to shutoff the stormwater connection from the oil companies. The project will also include cleanout of the upstream and downstream open channel drain on either end of the relocated enclosed portion of the Bauer Drain. In order to receive State and Federal environmental permits to relocate and enclose an open channel drain, mitigation of aquatic losses will be constructed within the Sycamore Creek in the City of Mason along the Hayhoe Riverwalk. Approximately 40 stream measures will be constructed to improve aquatic habitat, water quality and biodiversity.