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Posted: 07/02/14

WT board OKs sewer
and manhole project

Observer Special Writer
      Storm and sewer water will one day flow easier for residents in the southern portions of Washington Township.
       At its June 18 meeting, the Washington Township Board of Trustees approved a plan put forward by Giffels Webster, the township's civil engineering firm, to repair approximately seven miles of main trunk line sewers and 33 manhole covers.
       The work will take place in 2015, with most of the repairs occurring south of 27 Mile Road, most notably along Campground, Jewell and 26 Mile roads.
       Mike Kozak, Giffels Webster senior project manager, presented the project plan to the board. He said a 2012 study conducted by Giffels Webster engineers determined that some of Washington Township's sewers suffer from various structural defects that, if not addressed, could cause them to fail within 10 years.
       The main trunk lines identified for repair are made of concrete and more susceptible to degradation than the plastic-lined sewers used in today's construction projects.
       If left unaddressed, on-going corrosion could result in millions of dollars in infrastructure repairs, Kozak told the board.
       He presented three options for repairing the deteriorating lines, with the recommendation that the township use a "cured-in-place pipe lining" method because it would be less disruptive and just as effective as more intrusive methods, such as trenching.
       "This is the ultimate solution for these types of pipes that need repair," Kozak told the board. "This approach causes minimal disruption. A couple months after work is done, grass grows back."
       Kozak said cost for the project is $1.4 million but will result in no special assessment or additional out-of-pocket fees to township residents. He said maintenance costs are factored into current sewer rates.
       To help finance the project, the township will seek a low-interest State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan from the State of Michigan. SRF is a financing program that assists qualified local municipalities with the construction of needed water pollution control facilities.
       Kozak told the board it was no guarantee that Washington Township would be awarded the loan, but that now was the time to apply. The loans are awarded based upon a priority basis.
       "The state has a pool of money," he said. "The key is to complete the plan, submit it, then get on the priority list."
       The deadline for submitting projects for SRF funding was July 1.
       The engineering study that identified the deteriorating sewer lines was funded by a State of Michigan S2 grant, which provides assistance to Michigan municipalities for planning and design tasks associated with wastewater systems.

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