Big​ ​Whitefish​ ​Lake​ ​Association

JUNE 2, 2018

Called to order 9:30am (donuts promised…but no donuts arrived).

Roll call: Buyse, Dykhouse, Smith, Moore, Van Timmeren, Walker, Rohen, DeVries, Karhonen. Absent:  Rohen, Szymczak

August 2017 minutes:  approved (member/member)

Treasurers Report (Smith):

Treasurers Report will be posted on lake website

$9500 for trash pickup / $10,000 for fireworks highlighted

Motion to approve (member/member)

Guests;  Montcalm County Marine Patrol – one officer (John) and one trainee (Austin) reported on their activity (patrol lake two times per weekend).  Reported budget cuts have affected their patrols.  They get more calls from Little Whitefish than Big Whitefish.  If our Association wishes more patrols we can pay (like Crystal Lake does).  Board will look at this issue and report back at the August 25 member meeting.  Boat launch (Winslow Park) is in for improvements including a dock and a designated parking spot for law enforcement.

New members in attendance – welcome Mike and Norma Fish plus Mike and Sally Murphy.

Community Outreach – Buyse reported our lake association is the sponsor of a little league (Jr.) baseball team. The Big Whitefish Lake Loons.  Eblast coming soon with picture and schedule.


Fireworks – Jerry Poisson thanked members for the extra $2000 raised this year bringing the total to $10,000 for this year’s show on July 3.  2″, 3″ and 4″ shells with a bigger grand finale this year.  Eric Cavalli still has flares available.

Winterfest  looking for a chairperson for the 2019 event by fall meeting in August.  If no one is interested the event will be canceled.

Meet and Greet – Glenn Stout reported 110 people attended last year, it was a big success.  June 22 is this year’s date.  Franklin Park Band again providing the live music.  $18 per person.

Pickleball courts upgrade…four courts/nets.  Ladies meet 8 AM Thursdays for Pickleball. Men meet 9 AM Fridays. All members welcome anytime.

Fun Run – July 4 at 8:15am.  Zone D is volunteering this year to manage the event.  Zone C next year.

Boat Parade – Sunday, July 1 @ 3PM.  Any decoration ok…no theme.  First prize is a meal prepared by chairs Janet Moore and Jen Walker.  Second prize Celebration Cinema gift pack.  More details in the directory (page 17)

Gar Pike and Dogfish Spearing contest July 13.  Details in directory (page 20).

Fishing contest June 23, 6am – 7pm.  More details in the directory (page 22, 23).

Golf Outing / Pontoon tie-up August 11 starting at noon.  Big Whitefish Golf Club.

BWL Apparel;

Greetings BWL Association Members,

We’re happy to offer another opportunity, yet this year, to order BWL apparel. Many of you have expressed regret at missing this chance the first time. Others, who received their items, have expressed interest in ordering additional items.

This offer is limited to apparel only and orders must be sent with payment (check or cash only) to Mary Underwood or Susan Smith no later than 6/22. Items will take 2-3 weeks to produce. We are limiting orders to the existing items, colors and sizes.

Historically, merchandise is offered every other year, so the spring of 2020 may be the next opportunity and if you haven’t picked up your merchandise yet, please contact Mary Underwood at 616-437-9573 to arrange to do so.

Please e-mail Susan  or Mary with any questions.

BWLA apparel committee co-chairs 

Boat Safety – no new issues.

Dam and Channel – dam board in place.

Directory  2018 directory has been distributed.  Thanks Jeff Moore for his efforts organizing that.

Government Road Projects – Jim Hatch reports a list will be posted on lake website.  Pierson Township Board of Review person works Tuesdays 10 – 2.

History Books – Bert Kohonen reports there are six books left ($10 each/free to new members).  2013 edition.

Land use/development – tennis/pickleball courts area fixed up with gravel.

Neighborhood Watch – reminding members to lock up your stuff/watch neighbors’ stuff.  No incidents reported.

Sewer advisory – all is well.  Reminders no water softeners or garbage disposals are allowed on the Lake.  Subject to fines if discovered.  Tanks will be pumped if needed.  Details in directory (inside front cover/page 58)

Trash Pickup – dates of trash pickup for members in directory (page 14).  Recycle pickup not a possibility.  Question about how early is too early in the morning for pickup.  Jeff Moore will look into this.

Web page – Judy Wells Warner encouraged we all use the lake web site

There is a members only section (requires login), calendar of events and a contact us option.  There is also a pdf of the directory

PLM – an early May ride along/assessment was too early to get any reading on vegetation.  There was one algae treatment May 29…not effective.  Looking for an update from PLM.

Lake Ecology – observation and baseline for measuring success needed.  Members urged to report any swimmers itch, signs of oak wilt, invasive species (guide for invasive will be shared), signs of fertilizer usage (prohibited with 300 feet of the lake) to Dan Buyze or Dave Cornelius.  Seagull problem has gone away.

Water quality (PFAS issue) – an Eblast will communicate to members with results of lake water testing and fish testing (due this summer).  Anyone having tested their well water is encouraged to share results with Board.  30 private wells on the lake have been tested and all have come back negative for PFAS.  Board will continue to work with Republic and health organizations to define the plume, define the aquifer and have more test wells dug/monitored.

Open Board position – Walt DeVries stepping down.  Looking for one volunteer to fill that seat.  Election will be at August 25 member meeting.

New business:  member asking about loud music…suggestion to go direct to those causing any kind of disturbance and make your feelings known.

Motion to adjourn: 11:11am approved (member/member).

Submitted by Ron Van Timmeren, Secretary

Update 6/13/18:

Phase 1 testing for PFAS has been completed. None of the domestic wells sampled exceeded applicable regulatory criteria. A few of the wells, west of the highway, were found to contain PFAS below regulatory criteria. Of the ten wells tested west of the expressway, six were “none detectable” (no PFAS). Of the wells that tested positive for PFAS, sample results exhibited very low levels, well below regulatory standards. This minimal level may or may not be due to factors related to the landfill.

We also received back PFAS tests on the lake surface water and are pleased to announce the results were negative for PFAS contaminants. The negative results on the six wells west of 131, combined with the negative results obtained on a half dozen wells tested privately by lake residents, is good news. These results should ease concerns over the current condition of our BWL waters.

Next Steps:

Central Sanitary Landfill,  (CSL), will perform additional work to further define the boundary of the contamination plume in all directions. That work will consist of the following:

* CSL is working with the MDOT to place wells on the 131 right of way west of the landfill that will further define groundwater flows.

* To address BWL concerns CSL is contacting landowners just west of the landfill (across from 131) to obtain permission to place no less than one monitoring well(s) on their property.  Should this well(s) test negative, it will serve as a sentinel well. The need for additional wells will be based on test results.

* Of the effected wells, even though they tested well within safe drinking standards, CSL or the Health Department will be offering to install filtration systems in these homes. In addition, testing will be done on a regular basis to monitor their PFAS levels.

PUBLIC MEETING: On June 18th at 6:00 PM the state will be holding a public meeting at the Tri County High School at 21338 Kendaville Road to review the Phase 1 test results and the work plan listed above. An open house will precede the public meeting from 4:30-5:30 PM to give residents an opportunity to discuss these test results with DEQ, DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services) and/or CSL representatives.

The BWLA Board will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates as they become available. If you have questions or concerns, please contact me. However, we are confident that our water supply does not have PFAS contamination.  Enjoy this summer season!


Dan Buyze
President, Big Whitefish Lake Association