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Posted: 05/21/14

Pipeline proposed for
northern communities

Observer Staff Writer
      A potential $5 million project to build a new facility in Washington Township may not be needed to bring sewer services to northern communities.
       A $58 million pipeline project is being considered by local and Macomb County officials to serve the northern end of the county.
       The need for sewer services was highlighted when the Village of Romeo received a request from property owners at 32 Mile Road to be annexed from Washington Township to receive the utility.
       Washington Township fought the annexation, causing Romeo to back down. The township then decided to research building its own wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) to serve its northern properties.
       At the Washington Township May 7 meeting, Supervisor Dan O'Leary said the township is still pursuing two applications to build a WWTP at one of two locations.
       "I expect it to take a little bit more time, it's just a long process," O'Leary said.
       A three-year project from the Macomb County Drain Commission, however, may alleviate the need.
       Phase 1 of the project would bring a four-mile, 48-inch diameter pipe from 23 Mile Road to 26 Mile Road along Garfield and Romeo Plank and turn west along 26 Mile and Hayes. Phase 2 would install six miles of pipe ranging from 18 to 36 inches in diameter along a future right-of-way on Hayes to 32 Mile Road.
       "We'd get greater capacity, a better environmental outcome, and a pipe that serves not just the very northern end of the township, but potentially the entire east of M-53 side of the township," O'Leary said.
       The construction would cost $16 million for phase 1 and phase 2 would be $19 million. County Drain Commissioner Anthony Marrocco is proposing that 80 percent be funded by taxes issued by the Drain Commission, while the remaining 20 percent would be funded outright by the commission.
       "It would be paid for by charging tap fees for each home or business that uses sewer on a go-forward basis from any of the agreeing towns," said O'Leary in a written statement.
       The fee would be paid to the county by developers, which would then use that money to pay for the bond.
       O'Leary said this would save the township from having to bond out at least $5 million to build a WWTP. He did note, though, that a 12-member Drain District the township belongs to would pay for the bond if tap fees didn't cover the cost.
       Even so, O'Leary said the cost woud be minimal since the expenses would be spread out over the districts.
       A memorandum of understanding for the proposal is expected to come before interested communities.
       "It's a brilliant proposal," he said.

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