Grand Traverse County Elects New Drain Commissioner

Grand Traverse County has a new drain commissioner.Andy Smits

Environmental engineer Andy Smits will take on the new role, and he has a lot of work on his plate already.

He’ll be in charge of more than a dozen county drain districts that will require maintenance, repairs and inspection. The Cass Road drain in particular has had flooding issues, and the previous commissioner was working on an expensive project to repair it.

Last summer, 9&10 told you that some county leadership was not satisfied with the work of the drain official. They questioned his spending and workload.

The drain commissioner position is part time. Smits says he wants to make all the systems more efficient so they require less time and care in the first place. That way, he will spend his time doing tasks that require an expert eye.

Smits comes into the role with 30 years of environmental engineering experience and expertise in ground water and storm water.

Smits will start with an inspection at each drain and look for ways to engineer them smarter. He also has a few other cool ideas, like installing live cameras at each drain.

“We don’t have to spend time and resources driving or making inspections when we can see it in real time…make sure it’s not clogged, and that the flow is steady or even put a level gauge is and determine what the real time elevation of [for example]…Silver Lake is,” said Smits.

Smits also said he will personally follow up on all drain related calls within 24 hours.