Earthshake Planned Thursday Night on Paint Creek Trail

A geophysical survey of the rock structure below the Paint Creek Trail will be conducted Thursday night.

The will be shaking Thursday night! This is not a test, nor is it an earthquake.

It's a geophysical survey of the bedrock 45,000 feet below the trail, using a vibrating disc attached to a 12,000-pound piece of equipment.

The goal of the survey is to create a map of the rock below the trail using two-dimensional sonar imagery.

Residents living along the trail will not feel any vibrations or have their homes shake—the vibrations can only be felt a few feet away from the disc according to West Bay Geophysical Director of Operations Jim Bowser.

"We'll be out on the trail at night with lights; nearby residents will hear the industrial engine and most likely the humming of the vibrator," Bowser said.

West Bay is going door-to-door to inform residents living along the trail of the survey and reduce any alarm it would cause.

Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Commissioner Joeseph Peruzzi was concerned about the short notice given to the residents.

Peruzzi was the only commissioner to vote no on a motion created by Vice Chairperson Alice Tomboulian to give the Parks and Recreation Commission's OK to use the bridges.

There were two stipulations agreed upon with Bowser:

  • The vibrating disc would not come within 100 feet of any bridge on the trail.
  • Bridge #33.7 would not be crossed by the machinery due to fear of existing erosion issues.

The commissioners collectively agreed 100 feet was a safe distance to stay away from the bridges to prevent any further erosion.

"We very much care about our residents and what happens here. We just needed to know what was going on and to make sure you will be cautious here," Commissioner Dirk Mammen said.

Bowser will be escorting the West Bay crew tonight during the survey to ensure these stipulations are followed and stationing employees in front of and behind the machinery to be careful of any late-night trail users.

The  previously authorized the survey, pending written OK to cross the bridges from the parks and recreation commissions in Rochester Hills and Oakland Township.

How it works

Sensors will be placed along the trail at 8 1/2-foot intervals to capture the sonar readings to create the most accurate map possible.

"We're looking for a 'Trenton structure,' which is limestone with dolomitization, or pores in it that allow for oil to get trapped inside," Bowser said.

The Paint Creek Trail marks the eastern edge of the map West Bay is creating, and the possibility of any oil or natural gas being drilled from the area is unlikely.

Dan Butterworth July 27, 2012 at 01:15 AM
What is unlikely is that they are spending money without there being a good chance of drilling or some kind of other industrial use. Why are they letting them do this? Google "west bay" fracking or oil wells.
Jan Olson July 27, 2012 at 07:44 PM
What is going on here in Oakland township? Didn't the commission read the news reports about West Bay before you approved this project?. I thought this is suppose to be a community for the environment; being one of the excuses that was used to take out the Paint Creek dam (more like a $704,000.00 reason). Now it is okay to have a company come in to hunt for oil and gas along the trail in our backyards? Pay attention Oakland Township residents!
Jan Olson July 27, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Contact your Oakland Township trustees that are up for re-election that are on the Paint Creek Trail Commission about this project: Kathy Thomas at kfthomas7@yahoo.com and Marc Edwards at marc3815@aol.com. They represent us on the Trailways commission, and I believe that they are not working for us. They both voted to remove the dam, along with Joan Fogler. The Trailways approved this research, but approval had to be obtained to "cross the bridges"? That is the least of our worries. What about approval to drill behind our houses if oil and gas is found? We all have well water and don't want our ground water contaminated. Why do some of you keep working to devalue our properties. Call Joan Fogler, our township supervisor at 248-651-7293 and complain; her campaign literature says she is open to listen to all residents. It was not good enough to have us that live on the now empty mill race to worry about where the water is going to go when Paint Creek floods; without the mill race flood plain? Or to worry about West Niles virus from the mosquitoes in the "no-flow of water" race now?
Char Kruse July 28, 2012 at 06:30 PM
sounds like another township farce to me!
JM Landers July 29, 2012 at 06:23 AM
jan sounds to me like you should come to my meet and greet on tuesday to meet the opponents to the current board if you voted in the primary anytime in the last three years you should have received an invite! email me at Jeaneaneml@comcast.net for details


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