In May of 2020, the mid-Michigan dam failures devastated several communities, and eight months later, many residents, businesses, schools, and organizations are still picking up the pieces. One of those affected was Windover High School in Midland, a specialized high school that accommodates teens who often experience homelessness, abuse, and neglect. The school has a food pantry, shower for students, and a basic needs pantry (clothes, chap stick, deodorant, etc.). They even have a laundry so students can wash their clothes at school if needed.
In May, 90% of their library was washed away. The water was almost four feet high in their building and their books were housed on short book shelves. They did receive many generous donations, however some of the books were not geared toward teens.
NTH Consultants, Ltd. works and lives in the communities affected by this flooding and when we heard of the need for replacement materials and books for the Windover library, we knew we had to help. NTH hosted a book drive in our Northville office, and despite many still working virtually, our staff really came through. We filled a cargo van full of books and drove to them to Grace A Dow Memorial Library who is coordinating the book donations.
We were proud to be able to give hundreds of books to help restock the shelves in the Windover High School. NTH appreciates the effort and generosity of our staff members who are always ready to help others in need.
By David R. Lutz, P.E., Vice President, Community Development Market Executive
NTH Consultants, Ltd.
If the February 2021 “unusual” weather events in Texas drive home a salient point, it’s that the unusual should not be considered so unusual anymore. Whether it is the increased prevalence and magnitude of wildfires in the western United States and hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean, or, closer to home, devastating rainfall and flooding events that overwhelm aging dam and stormwater conveyance structures in Michigan, these unusual weather events are likely here to stay. If these events have shown us anything, it is that our communities are perilously close to one significant weather-related event away from disaster.
Strategic placement of drainage containment structures, including parklands, that are naturally low-lying like that of Hines Park in Wayne County, Michigan, or large surface water features (e.g., ponds or lakes) can be utilized to mitigate extreme disruption to surrounding areas. Controlled and minimized flooding in designated areas to lessen the overall impact and benefit the surrounding community during extreme climate events is a path worth pursuing on a widespread basis.
While renewable energy is largely considered a more sustainable, long-term solution for energy production, the key to reliability is redundant systems and methods of delivery. In Michigan, Line 5 across the Straits of Mackinac delivers petroleum products that currently meets 55% of statewide propane needs to heat Michigan homes. Plans currently underway to ensure a more secure delivery method by locating Line 5 in a bedrock tunnel beneath the Straits is meeting fierce political and environmental opposition for a variety of reasons. On February 20, 2021, Governor Whitmer declared an energy emergency, removing trucking restrictions to ensure home propane delivery by vehicle is not impeded. Our public policy should not minimize or reduce the means and methods of energy delivery to our communities, but instead focus on increasing energy reliability in cost-effective and environmentally conscientious ways.
Politics aside, whether you believe in the science of climate change or not, one fact remains relevant based on the recent trends of significantly disastrous weather-related events: We must actively pursue more thoughtful approaches to engineering and designing our communities and infrastructure to be better prepared to handle the now “usual” extreme events, integrating natural and built features to achieve more resilient and sustainable communities.
Its National Engineers Week! This week, February 21–27, 2021, according to the National Society of Professional Engineers, is “dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers.”
Engineers week has been recognized annually since 1951 to acknowledge the men and women of this professional and thank them for all the hard work they do. Civil engineers do work hard to design, build, and maintain almost all the structures that surround us – our roads and bridges, water and energy systems, seaports and airports, and the infrastructure for a cleaner environment.
At NTH, engineers are the foundation of our business, focused on engineering a sustainable tomorrow for our clients and our communities. They use their expertise, knowledge, and experience to counsel our clients across multiple markets to meet the most challenging project demands.
We are proud to celebrate their many achievements and contributions—especially during National Engineers Week.
Thank you to our dedicated engineering staff for all your hard work!
The NTH Narrator
NTH Consultants, Ltd. (NTH) is a nationally recognized engineering firm specializing in Geotechnical, Environmental, and Facilities Engineering.