By Charles Sercombe
Hamtramck’s Recreation Department finally did what it should have done last year: talk to the state Department of Environmental Quality.
The department and the contractor hired to install a splash pad in Pulaski Park did not submit building plans for the pad before its construction last summer. According to the DEQ, the contractor made the department aware of the pad but failed to follow-up with the agency.
As a result, the agency wrote a letter to the public school district last December asking for the “proposed” plans. At that point, however, the pad had already been built without first submitting plans to the DEQ.
The DEQ subsequently asked for the plans and additional information. The matter became public after it caught the attention of School Boardmember Hedy Shulgon, who said Hamtramck Recreation Department Director Craig Daniels refused to provide documents on the matter or answer her questions.
Daniels also refused to answer questions posed by a Review reporter, saying he didn’t have to.
Paul Sisson, an inspector with the DEQ, said he has recently been in contact with Daniels and the contractor.
The DEQ is the regulatory agency in charge of public splash pads when recycled water is used, which is the case in Hamtramck. The water must be treated with chemicals to make sure bacterial matter is not spread.
The pad cost $115,853, which is twice the amount per square foot that other communities have spent. One reason that it is far cheaper in other communities is that they opted to use fresh water instead of recycled water. The fresh water is allowed to run off and is not reused.
The pad is expected to be in operation by mid June.
The DEQ’s Paul Sisson said so far it appears the pad will be OK to use but it will still require an onsite inspection.
“I fully expect it will be resolved well in advance to opening it,” Sisson said.