Problem Statement:

Weeds, leaves, road water, garbage and other debris collect in the street catch basins (drain wells). This sediment is very nutrient-rich. Rainwater flows through the drain waste and into the lake carrying the unwanted nutrients with it.

Pilot Project Goals:

The Paw Paw Lake Foundation funded a $25,000 catch basin identification program and pilot structure clean-out project.  

The goals of this pilot project were to:

  • Identify the catch basins draining into the lake and select a subset of these catch basins for inclusion in the pilot project.
  • Develop an understanding of the condition of the pilot project catch basins.
  • Clean out the sediment from the pilot project catch basins.
  • Use the information from the catch basin clean-out pilot project to determine a more accurate estimate of the cost of cleaning out the remaining catch basins. 

Pilot Project Summary:


A pilot project area was selected which included township/road commission catch basins (90) and catch basins on established county drains (74).


164 catch basins were evaluated and cleaned out.

Data on pipe size, direction, material and manhole conditions was collected by a Spicer Group Engineer.

Approximately 75 cubic yards of waste was removed by B & Z Construction from the 164 pilot project catch basins and disposed of at Trident Dock & Dredge’s borrow pit.

An average of 33 structures were cleaned-out per day resulting in a 5 day project.

Catch basin evaluations revealed that 4 catch basins needed immediate attention and 12 others need attention in the immediate future.

Recommendations/Next Steps:

The Special Assessment Project Advisory Board (SAPAC) for the Paw Paw Lake Special Assessment District (SAD) will recommend:

  • Continuing the catch basin identification and mapping effort started by the Paw Paw Lake Foundation.
  • Funding to evaluate and clean-out the remaining catch basins (approximately 330) for a cost of  approximately $54,500.
  • Evaluating 5 to 10 locations for installation of water quality cleaning units.

Obtain commitment from Berrien County Drain Commissioner, Christopher Quattrin, to assist with future maintenance of the catch basins and system.

Paw Paw Lake Catch Basin Clean-Out Pilot Project 
Abstract of Report Prepared by the Spicer Group on May 17, 2022