Bradford White Corporation is partnering with the Village of Middleville to acquire the necessary permits to remove and recycle several decades-old empty water heater tanks that had been submerged in the Thornapple River and became visible as a result of lower water levels caused by local dam repairs.
“At Bradford White, we are committed to being a good neighbor and steward of our natural resources and water,” said Mark Taylor, executive vice president and general manager at Bradford White. “Our goal is to remove and recycle the tanks at our expense.”
These open water heater tanks – which are made of steel and contain only river water – were produced in the early to mid-1940s by the now-closed White Products Corp., which was located approximately a half mile east, upstream and on the other side of the Middleville dam from where Bradford White’s manufacturing plant has been located since the late 1940s.
“Bradford White has been a helpful partner in preparing to remove the empty water heaters,” said Patricia Rayl, Village Manager. “Once the old water heaters were brought to our attention by kayakers enjoying the Thornapple River, our staff reached out to Bradford White to see how we could best collaborate. The water heaters were discovered because the river is exceptionally low in preparation for replacing the dam gates.”
“Our team noticed the submerged tanks several years ago and decided not to pursue removal due to the difficulty and the conditions associated with the removal,” said Erv Gambee, Thornapple River Watershed Council. “We are happy that Bradford White, having recently become aware themselves of the presence of these tanks, is taking the initiative to get the necessary permits and have the tanks removed.”
Bradford White plans to provide regular updates to keep the community informed of its progress.