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Posted: 04/16/14

Wash Twp receives nearly $1M SAW grant

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
      Sewer infrastructure improvements and repairs are coming down the pipe for Washington Township.
       The township received $994,410 in funding from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's Stormwater Asset Management and Wastewater (SAW) grant program that will fuel studies and plans to address $1.4 million in sewer repairs.
       The state created the SAW grant in 2013 to provide municipalities funding for developing asset management, stormwater and sewage collection and treatment plans. The state set aside $541 million for the program.
       A total of 673 communities applied for a piece of the $97 million made available through the SAW grant's first year. Grants were awarded through a lottery system, with Washington Township drawn among the first recipients.
       Supervisor Dan O'Leary said the funding will be used to evaluate the second-oldest sewer pipelines throughout the community for any cracks or deterioration.
       "From a public safety standpoint, we don't want any sewage backing up into people's basements, and we don't want them breaking and causing huge sinkholes like in Detroit," he said.
       Damaged pipelines and manholes also cause water from heavy rains to leak into the pipes, costing the township money for treating the stormwater as well as sewage.
       O'Leary said the study will likely begin this year and wrap up in 2015. The township pays for the evaluation itself, and is then reimbursed by the state through the SAW grant.
       "We have a really strong team out there aggressively pursuing this stuff," he said of the grant. "We're excited about receiving that large amount."
       In 2012, the township studied its oldest sewer infrastructure thanks to $600,000 from the state's S2 grant program, assessing 38,000 linear feet of lines and 132 manholes. This led to the township budgeting $1.4 million for necessary repairs to the 30-year-old pipes.
       The first round of pipeline work would take place in 2015-16 at sections of Van Dyke, an easement on M-53, Rudgate, Jewell Road and 26 Mile Road between Schoenherr and Hayes.
       Another $1.2 million in preventative repairs were found through the S2 study, though township engineers said these could be delayed.
       In February, Mike Kozak of Giffels-Webster told the township board that the SAW grant will help prepare a State Revolving Fund (SRF) project plan, which the township can submit to apply for a loan through the SRF.
       He said if any projects qualify, the township can take the loan or find its own means of funding, such as through a bond. SRF loans are announced in the fall.
       Giffels-Webster applied for both the SAW grant and the S2 grant on behalf of the township. The township had to match 10 percent of the S2 grant.
       Aside Washington Township, the Macomb County Wastewater Disposal District received the maximum SAW grant amount of $2 million, while Lyon Township received $515,700.


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