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Posted: 06/25/14

Oakland Twp. ready to
upgrade water, sewerage

Observer Special Writer
      The Oakland Township Board of Trustees heard a presentation on Oakland County's plans to upgrade their water and sewer system at their meeting June 10.
       From 1998 to 2013, the board had been actively or inactively pursuing the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department coming to the township. It presented many issues and difficulties to the township. The board voted in September 2013 not to pursue the issue any further.
       "Since that time, (Oakland County) has been in discussions with the township regarding different potential avenues to follow and to both meet (Michigan Department of Environmental Quality) requirements and to improve the quality of the water," said Township Supervisor Terry Gonser.
       Tim Prince, director of Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner, explained in his presentation that sewage rates will increase overall by 7.4 percent and the increase will help cover the cost of the project. He mentioned the Perry Street Diversion Project, which is currently under construction in Pontiac. This will handle sewage capacity issues in the Clinton-Oakland Sewage Disposal System, which Oakland Township is part of.
       "There was a cost to build that pump station. Essentially, what this rate increase does is it replenishes our reserves that we use to build this project. Short term, the customers take a little bit of a rate hit, but long term, it's going to be much cheaper to send the flow to Pontiac as opposed to sending the flow all the way to Detroit," he said.
       That would cost each resident an average of $100 per quarter, or $34 per month.
       As for water rates, residents currently pay an average of $118 per quarter per resident, or $39 per month. The base rate will remain the same, said Prince.
       "We are establishing a cost recovery rate. These are for special projects within certain districts that are served by the Oakland well systems," he said.
       Prince then explained the reasons why Oakland County chose not to be connected to the Detroit system. The Detroit water rates are double the current rate.
       "Obviously the Detroit water is much better quality, but there's a cost for that," he said. "If we were to connect to Detroit water, it's actually going to cost more to bring Detroit water to Oakland Township and add a necessary storage than it would be to do the improvements in the well system."
       There would also be annual rate increases over the next 10 years, ranging from four to 10 percent if they joined up with Detroit.
       Each district would get improved water pressure, improved reliability and treatment to remove the iron content in the water.
       Conceptual engineering costs range from $20 to 30 million.
       Bonding for the project would begin in August 2015, and construction would begin in spring 2016. It is projected to be completed in the summer of 2018.
       Over a three year period, the project would cost each resident $94 a month, based on the current conceptual engineering costs.
       Prince said citizen participation was welcome. "If there's a lot of interest from the residents in these systems, we could form an advisory committee that we could communicate with as we go through this process," he said.
       Gonser agreed with Prince's suggestion.
       "Citizen input is extremely important on this issue," he said.
       In other business, the Board of Trustees:
       - Announced that the Orion Road Bridge over Paint Creek will be torn down on June 25. Construction on a new bridge is expected to be finished by August 25, or Labor Day at the latest. Detours will be posted on the township's website.
       - Appointed Gene Ferrera to the Historic District Commission.
       - Appointed Ron Hein as the Planning Commission's representative to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
       - Approved an application for fireworks from the Wyndgate Country Club.
       - Approved a resolution to increase sewer rates from $95.63 to $102.74 per quarter.
       - Approved a request from the Building Department to hire a part-time code compliance officer.
       - Approved budget amendments for the Orion Road Bridge construction project and the Parks and Recreation Land Preservation Fund.
       - Approved purchasing guidelines for Oakland Township.
       - Approved an agreement and resolution to continue with Community Development Block Grant Funds (CDBG) for the next three years.
       - Approved public hearings for the Goodison Area Sub Plan for the July and August meetings.
       - Appointed John Giannangeli to the Election Commission.

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Retrieved 7/31/2015 at 1:26:16 PM.
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