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Posted: 04/16/14

WT working with MDEQ for a new sewer facility

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
      Washington Township is advancing its plans to improve infrastructure with a new wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) and a water tower.
       Supervisor Dan O'Leary said the township has acquired the option to build a new WWTP facility as well as the ability to take over an existing permit for sewer services. He said the township's engineers are working to design a facility and answer questions from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).
       He said the WWTP will provide needed sewer services to the northern end of the township that would encourage commercial and industrial growth, thereby adding to the township's tax base.
       "Generally speaking, if you want industrial facilities, you need quality sewer," he said.
       At this point in time, the MDEQ is seeking clarification on portions of the permit requests. The township is applying for permits for two locations: one at 30 Mile Road and Van Dyke and the other at 32 Mile and Powell roads in Armada Township. The permit process could take three to four months to finish.
       To pay for the project, O'Leary said the township has already begun the process of looking into bonds. He said the bonding will not only pay for the WWTP, but also road projects and a water tower. He said cost estimates for the WWTP are being withheld until the engineering is complete.
       "We could pay out in cash, but it is unwise to do so," he said.
       Washington Township has opened the WWTP to other customers in need of sewer, such as Armada Township. Supervisor John Paterek said he would like to see the facility installed in his township, but knows it's up to Washington Township to determine the location.
       "For the location we'll have some input, but there is not a lot of say on our part unless we decide to become partners, and that is up to the board," he said.
       He said Armada Township needs utilities for 2.5 square miles of industrial area in order to put up new buildings and create new jobs. He said the utilities would be a good way to provide extra services without having to raise taxes if the industrial area is developed.
       "There is definitely no question that Washington really wants utilities one way or another and they're more than willing to help us to get the utilities we need," he said.
       The project was motivated by the Village of Romeo considering annexing 550 acres of Washington Township land at 32 Mile Road east of M-53 to provide the landowners with utilities. Washington threatened to pull its funding from services like the library district and Parks and Recreation if annexation attempts were made, and decided to pursue its own WWTP.
       Romeo dropped the annexation talks when the Karam family, the owners of the property on 32 Mile Road, decided to withdraw its request for utilities in December.
       Armada Township sought sewer services from Romeo for its industrial area at 33 Mile and Powell roads, to which Romeo suggested annexing into the village. If annexation occurred, Romeo would've gained the ability to tax the properties.
       Washington Township's water tower project would install a concrete water tank and pump station behind the Washington Township Fire Station 2 to address water needs in that sector of the township. The project is slated for completion this year and to be operational in the spring of 2015.


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