Skip to content

Water – No One is Serious


People have Zero respect for tap water. It’s ALWAYS on, ready to pour, at the kitchen sink, bathroom, outside spigot. We take it for granted, even when the power is out, and all is dark in a neighborhood.

The tap water infrastructure is invisible, underground, forgotten about, and yet it’s extremely vital to our daily survival. The Center for Neighborhood Technology estimates that approximately

6 billion gallons of water wasted in the U.S.A.

~ every day.

The Detroit tap water system LOSES 15% of all the water it creates for people to drink.
In an average year, DWSD treats and pumps ~~  ( nearly 228.5 billion ! ) ~~ gallons of water.

Ever really, really thought about YOUR personal toilet ?  Stop ! Do it now. Think. It’s filled with tap water. Yeah – 40% of the tap water used each day by the average person is flushed down the toilet.
That RainBarrel capture concept looks mighty sweet already, right ?
A 5 gallon bucket from the RainBarrel is like 2 or 3 free flushes, per day, for a little work.

From the website

“Hundreds of billions in water and sewer improvements are not being made.” As a result of this neglect, a million miles of underground pipes need to be replaced, according to a 2012 American Water Works Association (AWWA) report entitled “Buried No Longer: Confronting America’s Water Infrastructure Challenge.” The cost of repairing the existing damage and keeping up with ongoing maintenance is staggering. “Restoring existing water systems as they reach the end of their useful lives and expanding them to serve a growing population will cost at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years,” according to the AWWA report. Through 2050, the costs escalate to $1.7 trillion, or $30 billion annually. Looking at recent history, it is difficult to imagine municipalities shouldering this burden on their own.

Water policy is often in the hands of a City Council and the representatives usually cannot  muster the political fortitude to raise tap water rates.  Operational costs go up, and people need to pay money $$$ for treated, clean, drinkable, pressurized tap water. It IS that simple !

I believe we’ll see a push towards more “”usage fees”” for Stormwater runoff volume.

Large flat roofed buildings  (A million square feet + ) with their associated parking lots, dump massive amount of rain into the Stormwater drains.

Square Footage matters….

A small house with lots of lawn would pay less , versus, a massive house with small lawn. The amount in the drain, rain volume into the pipe, is what truly matters. It is the only fair, decent manner, to create County wide drainage fees.

EColi on Beaches July4th ?

StormWater sewage mixed with leaking Septic Systems, along with  DogPoo , GoosePoo, DuckPoo – all washed onto #LakeStClair beaches – shutting them down with EColi – according to Macomb County Health Officials.

The Clinton River and all its tributaries from BOTH the Counties; flow into Lake St. Clair.





Rain Combined Sewer Systems


GWK Drainage System


Clinton River Metro Detroit

Soggy Saturday on tap

Many models predict lots of soaking rain, possibly totaling an inch or more.


It gets ugly around 3am Friday with a 90% chance of precipitation. Saturday brings high wind and a lot more rain.

Learn more about rain, drainage, and what one Michigan community did about it.

Neighborhood Sewage

VIDEO – HouseHold Drainage, Community BackUps, Flooding, with Calculations – Applies everywhere ! not just Ann Arbor.

Please watch the WHOLE clip as it goes into fine detail of How and Why a neighborhood drainage system becomes overloaded.

Cooler temps expected

The next three months are expected to feature relatively cool conditions in the central states while the West endures more above-average warmth.

What does that mean for rainfall, precipitation, flooding scenarios ? My guess would be Fewer massive prolonged thunderstorms.


The jet stream dips lower, resulting in cooler temps here in Michigan.


2015 GLWA New Agreements ?

As summertime thunderstorms roll in late June into July, one can only wonder what the new stormwater agreements will be.


The City of Warren is to modernize it’s Waste Water Treatment Plant
eliminating  “” Blended Effluent “”
For NPDES permit in 2016


Everyone is supposed to modernize reporting of discharges


We’ll have to wait and see the rainfall amounts from future storms to determine what exactly got discharged into the Red Run, Clinton River and Lake St Clair.

Pontiac will play more of a role for sewage treatment in Oakland County, and of course, will, definitely  discharge into the Clinton River.
— Happy recreating upon , and swimming in, the Clinton River.

Enjoy the Summer Sun (and Water)

Monday Thunderstorms

3-ENH-orange risk area depicts a greater concentration of organized severe thunderstorms with varying levels of intensity


You might not want to leave your windows open all day …..

GLWA Bondholder Consent

The GLWA won’t happen until the actual bondholders allow it to happen.

Article from The Bond Buyer

Holders of $5.2 billion of Detroit water and sewer bonds are playing a key role as Detroit attempts to execute the last big bargain struck during the city’s bankruptcy.

As Detroit and three regional counties work to form a new water and sewer authority, winning bondholder consent within six months is needed to complete the deal.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department must secure the approval of at least 51% of bondholders to shift the bonds from the DWSD to the new Great Lakes Water Authority. Most of the debt is insured, and insurers are expected to act as proxy for the bondholders.

Bond insurer Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp. wraps $1.92 billion of the debt, according to a spokesman. National Public Finance Guarantee Corp. insures $1.6 billion of the bonds. A spokesman for National declined to comment on the insurer’s position on the GLWA. Assured didn’t comment by press time.

The new authority was one of the last big bargains struck during the city’s Chapter 9 case. It calls for Detroit to lease its water and sewer system, one of the largest in the nation, to Wayne, Macomb, and Oakland Counties for 40 years. The city in return will get $50 million in annual lease payments and retain control of the infrastructure located within city limits.

The system serves nearly five million customers and is the largest in Michigan.

It’s the second time that bondholders have played a key role in the city’s restructuring efforts. The water and sewer bonds were front and center in the final days of the city’s bankruptcy. The city wanted to impair the revenue bonds by 40% or more by either stripping out call protections or replacing current coupons with lower rates, despite a revenue pledge that the market considered strong enough to escape bankruptcy unscathed.

The city ended up offering to tender the bonds, a complex financing completed in September and October, the final months of the bankruptcy. As part of the deal, Bondholders tendered a total of $1.5 billion of bonds, or 28% of the DWSD’s outstanding debt.

The six-member board of the GLWA signed the lease on June 12. The deal won’t be final, however, until the authority meets various conditions.

Many of the conditions are related to the DWSD’s large and complex debt portfolio.

In addition to winning 51% of bondholders’ consent, the GLWA also needs to pass a new master bond ordinance that authorizes the lease and largely reflects DWSD’s current ordinance.

The new authority is required to uphold certain current bond covenants, including coverage requirements for both additional bonds test and rate covenant that requires coverage of 1.20 times, 1.10 times, and 1.00 times for senior- and junior-lien debt, respectively, according to the lease.

The new authority is required to maintain a flow of funds to bondholders that was part of the tender offer. The DWSD agreed to keep debt-service payments second only to operation and maintenance costs and ahead of deposits to all other accounts.

The DWSD also needs to get confirmation from a ratings agency that the ratings assigned to the bonds would not be lower than the current ratings on the DWSD bonds. Bond counsel would need to deliver an opinion that the new debt will continue to be tax exempt. And as long as bonds are outstanding, neither the city nor the authority can terminate the lease, whether or not an event of default has occurred.

On the pension side, the authority needs to reach an agreement with Detroit and the Detroit General Employees Retirement System on how to manage the authority’s pension obligations. The lease allows the new authority to issue bonds to fund its pension obligation.

The conditions must be finalized by Jan. 1, 2016.

Bonds with a 2039 maturity and 5.25% coupon were yielding 4.31% in early June trading, according to the Electronic Municipal Rule Making Board web site. A chunk of the bonds with a 2023 maturity and 5% coupon yielded 3.11% in May trading, down from 6% in July, 2014 trading, when the city proposed impairing the debt

Flooding Maintenance Mid June

How often has your street been cleaned, swept, vacuumed ? A bit of yearly maintenance helps alleviate flooding. All that debris ends up in the stormdrains and they need to be cleaned out from time to time as well. When a street gets “cold patched” many pebbles ends up in the catchbasins via the steel grates by the curb.

Street sweeper

Street sweeper 



1044 AM EDT MON – JUN 15, 2015

Warren DPW maintains 316 miles of local roads, 65 miles of major roads.

Budgets are tight, and people should help out a bit. It takes a few minutes to sweep in front of your house when you mow the lawn , wack the weeds and do some edging by the sidewalk. Everyone benefits , it is a win-win.

Street grates

Street grates

Manhole access point

Manhole access point

Catch basin for sand, dirt, debris

Catch basin for sand, dirt, debris

Sunday rainstorms

Weather alert radio just chirped.
Looks like Warren Michigan will
get significant amounts of rain


ClintonRiver June 14 _ 2015

ClintonRiver June 14 _ 2015

GLWA fuzzy math 10% increase

I would say the math is downright shaggy
and very long – instead of just a bit fuzzy.
Plan on a 10 percent increase.
Gag order lifted, open discussion can occur now.

GLWA 10 Percent Increase

GLWA 10 Percent Increase

Brian Baker

Brian Baker

Cities pay for rain ?

At first it seems foolish, “pay for rainwater” ?
I am very serious, it concerns underground infrastructure.
Someone must pay for the water to flow – somewhere.
If the pipes are used more, they should pay more, right ?
More flow, more usage, more payments of a greater amount ?

Impervious surfaces such as rooftops, paved driveways, patios,
and parking lots, are major contributors to rainwater runoff.
Should you pay more because you have a large house, small lawn ?

Oakland County has combined sewer systems

Rain Combined Sewer Systems

Rain Combined Sewer Systems

Rain Infiltration Sewer Pipe

Rain Infiltration Sewer Pipe

A fair way to distribute the cost of maintaining storm sewers
and protecting area waterways is based on a property’s
contribution of rainwater to the sewer system.
Owners of large office buildings, shopping centers and
parking lots will be charged more than owners
of modest residential dwellings.

Now we all know some local areas get a LOT more rain
than others and it is quite scattered about
The heat island effect increase the amount of rain
– over and downwind – of major cities.

What about those area that are almost ALL concrete,
blacktop, parking lots, massive industrial manufacturing, etc.
They practically force rainwater into the drains
-versus a city with huge parks, large green spaces.
A mere 1 inch rainfall on 1000 sq ft = 623 gallons of water

A 2001 report from the Southeast Michigan Council
of Governments found that between $14 billion
and $26 billion was needed by 2030 to maintain
and improve Southeast Michigan’s sewer infrastructure.

Will the GLWA actually measure, analyze, and base rates
upon the flow of water in the underground pipes ?
I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Fair pricing and rate structure is not clean cut
and many, many factors play important roles in
financing the maintenance and improvement of a system.

Odd Water Developments June 10, 2015

First item
via info on LinkedIn

How does a senior attorney who served as lead in-house counsel
for the Oakland County Water Resource Council forming GLWA entity;
negotiated terms, agreements, interests of Oakland County;
suddenly leave near the drop dead date of June 14, 2015 ?

There was a distinct effort to simplify rates a while back
probably due to DWSDs equipment unable to measure accurately

Second item 

via info at

Last Friday, June 5, 2015, the judge overseeing the remainder
of Detroit’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy entered an order
extending until January 1, 2016, Judge Sean Cox’s appointment
as mediator of matters involving DWSD
and the Great Lakes Water Authority.

Update (6/8): At 8:37 a.m. this morning, the order entered
on Friday extending Judge Cox’s role as mediator
was vacated by the Clerk of the Court.
The order indicates that Friday’s order was entered in error.

Without an extension, Judge Cox’s appointment
would have expired on June 14, 2015,
which is the deadline for DWSD
and the Great Lakes Water Authority
to finalize and execute the terms of a long-term lease.

Lack of Sewers Oakland County

Oakland County is known for having Combined Sewer Systems
It is an antiquated system in need of renovation.
How many more years will LBrooksP continue this charade ?
These overflows go into the Clinton River and Lake St. Clair
When it rains hard, these old systems become overwhelmed

Combined Sewer Systems

Combined Sewer Systems

OaklandCounty Groundwater

OaklandCounty Groundwater

12 Towns Drain

12 Towns Drain

Current Modern Day Red Run

Current Modern Day Red Run

Old Red Run from 1960's

Old Red Run from 1960’s

Red Run The last 100 years

Red Run The last 100 years

Oakland-Macomb Interceptor summer 2015

Officials break ground in Shelby Township
on final phase of Oakland-Macomb Interceptor
Thursday, June 4, 2015
By SEAN DELANEY – Source Staff Writer
Advisor & Source NewsPapers

Officials from Macomb and Oakland counties gathered June 2 at River Bends Park in Shelby Township to break ground on Contracts 5 and 6 of the Oakland-Macomb Interceptor Drain (OMID) project.

“These contracts represent the final contracts of the $160 million rehabilitation program which is designed to restore the structural integrity of the (OMID) sewer system, which serves approximately 833,000 residents and rate payers in Macomb and Oakland counties,” said Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Anthony Marrocco.

According to the Oakland County Water Resources Office, the OMID is approximately 20 miles in overall length, and generally flows from north to south, terminating at the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department’s Northeast Sewage Pumping Station just south of 8 Mile Road. The diameter of the sewer ranges from 42 inches at one of the upstream extremities, to 12.75 feet in the southern half of the system.

Following the catastrophic collapse in 2004 of a nearby section of interceptor sewer that flows into the OMID, sewer service was seriously threatened for all the upstream users of the system. The repair in 2004 involved a 10-month, 24/7 construction and emergency bypass effort that ultimately cost rate payers over $56 million.

Following the repair, the remainder of the system was inspected, and found to be in very poor condition in many areas. In 2009, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department transferred the system to the newly created OMID Drainage District (OMIDDD), and the OMIDDD then undertook a $170 million, seven-year repair program, ultimately to be conducted under six separate contracts.

“Detroit didn’t take care of it, so we had to take over and make sure it could serve our customers,” Marrocco said.

Contracts 1 and 2 (Segment 1) of the program involved construction and installation of flow control and access structures at six points along the sewer system located in Sterling Heights and Warren.

According to Oakland County officials, the innovative design of the remote-operated flow control system allowed for storage of sewage flow within the system during daily repairs planned for subsequent segments of the program. This design approach saved millions over conventional bypass or manual flow control options.

The flow control and access structures involved installation of shafts up to 100 feet deep and 75 feet in diameter. The total cost of Contracts 1 and 2 was approximately $46.1 million, including engineering, administration, and legal. Work under Contracts 1 and 2 is now complete, and officials say the system is performing as planned.

Contract 3 (Segment 2) of the program involved leak sealing and spot repairs in the lower 10 miles of the system, located in Warren and Sterling Heights.

The contract also included installation of a new variable speed drive pump and related equipment at the Northeast Sewage Pumping Station (NESPS), in order to accomplish dewatering to facilitate the work at the southern end of the OMID tunnel.

According to officials, the Contract 3 work was designed to prepare the deteriorated pipe in advance of the slip-lining that is to be accomplished under Contract 4. The total cost of the work was initially about $26.5 million, including engineering, administration, and legal.

“The original scope of Contract 3 is now complete, although as a result of the discovery of deteriorated conditions within the NESPS, an emergency repair of the NESPS Discharge Chamber has been added to the contract,” officials said in a program summary released last month. “This work is just beginning, and is expected to be complete by about August 2016, at a cost of about $4.5 million (construction).”

Contract 4 (Segment 3) of the program involves lining about 26,500 lineal feet of tunnel with glass fiber polymer mortar pipe, within four sections of the OMID system between Metropolitan Parkway and the Northeast Sewage Pump Station (just south of 8 Mile Road).

The total cost of Contract 4 will be about $75.5 million, including engineering, administration, and legal.

“An innovative procurement approach on this contract is estimated to have saved about $18 million from the originally budgeted cost for this work,” the summary states.

Contract 4 was begun in August of 2013, with most of the work up to this date involving preparations for the bulk of the in-tunnel lining work. It is currently scheduled to be complete in November 2015.

“I’ve only been involved with this project since I came into office in 2013, but it’s been an amazing project,” said Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash. “We’re here to build something that’s going to last 100 years, and we want to make sure that it does that. I’m looking forward to finishing this project, and getting on the road to having it operate as it should have been for many years.”

Contract 5 (Segment 4) of the OMID repair program involves intermittent lining and internal spot repairs to the northern half of the OMID sewer system, which extends through the communities of Sterling Heights, Utica, and Shelby Township.

The work includes constructing two access shafts into the interceptor, sealing water leaks, grouting voids outside the interceptor, repairing cracks in the interceptor, and re-lining selected portions of the interceptor; together with construction of about three miles of gravel roadway through River Bends and Holland Ponds parks, to provide access for the construction.

“This project in particular not only protects the environment in terms of waste water, but it also involved the construction of roads through environmentally sensitive areas,” said Keith Swaffar, chairman of NTH Consultants. “So it’s really a testament to the commissioners in terms of their awareness and desire to protect the environment.”

The total cost of Contract 5 is about $13.7 million, including engineering, administration, and legal. The work is scheduled to be complete in June of 2016.

Contract 6 (Segment 4) of the OMID repair program involves intermittent lining and internal spot repairs to the OMID PCI-11A Interceptor from Dequindre Road to Utica Road, generally along M-59 in Shelby Township and the city of Utica. The work includes sealing water infiltration into the Interceptor with chemical grouting, repairing manholes, and re-lining portions of the interceptor.

The total cost of Contract 6 is estimated to be about $3.7 million, including engineering, administration, and legal. The work is scheduled to be complete in June of 2016.

“This project (OMID) ranks as the largest wholesale customer of the DWSD, and with the completion of these two contracts our system will be on sound engineering footing, and be able to provide reliable and efficient service to our customers for many years to come,” Marrocco said. “Overall, OMID has been quite an accomplishment, and for that we owe a debt of gratitude to all who have played a role in making the rehabilitation program a success story. Even though we’ve had out differences along the way, we’ve managed to move forward and complete the project the way it should be done.”

McCormick from DWSD leaving ?

Is Sue F. McCormick the Director/Chief Executive Officer
for the Detroit Water and Sewage Department
(DWSD) on the way out the door ?

It would appear the GLWA is in search of a CEO

National CEO Search

National CEO Search

Sue McCormick GLWA

Sue McCormick GLWA

I sincerely hope MACOMB County continues to be
fully represented within the GLWA and not entirely
steamrolled by what Oakland County wants

Brian Baker

Brian Baker

Being downstream

A wise man once said :

We are all downstream from someone else .

It really does matter where you live, location, location, location



Oakland County Drainage

Oakland County Drainage

Belle Isle Intake Warren Michigan

Belle Isle Intake Warren Michigan

Red Run EPA concern

Red Run EPA concern

Hackel excluded from courtroom


Talks are scheduled to be underway to potentially dissolve
the city of Highland Park in order to pay debts
to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department
while also forming a new regional water authority
in southeast Michigan.

Reports have surfaced of a meeting set for June 1
in the chambers of U.S. District Court.
Judge Sean Cox has reportedly arranged the closed-door meeting
to discuss the option, but apparently
did not invite Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel.


Mark Hackel Excluded

“That was just shocking to me because I’m critical
to the process and very vocal about it,” Hackel said.
“This is regional participants having regional discussions,
not secret meetings.
That’s what used to happen with the history and things
that happened in the city of Detroit that got us
to the problem that we’re at today.
“I thought that would’ve ended, but apparently now
there’s some kind of a meeting taking place
that I’m not invited to,” Hackel said.

Among those who have been invited by the judge
are Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.

“The reason Mark was not invited was not
for any nefarious reason,” Patterson said.
“The reason was that Mark made it very clear
that he’s not going along with the program,
that he is a ‘no’ vote.

I’m guessing here now that the judge said,
‘well why include Mark if he’s already taken himself out of the debate?’”
Key to the discussion is who will pay the
city of Highland Park’s $26 million debt
owed to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

Hackel said that he fears an attempt will be made
to have Highland Park’s debt transferred to regional rate payers.
“It’s a challenge, adding to the complexity of this deal moving forward,” Hackel said.

DEQ and Red Run

Online reporting of actual events on the Red Run
and Clinton River via CSO discharge of Kuhn Basin
IS NOT EXACTLY the priority of the DEQ

– Facilities are required to notify the MDEQ within 24 hours
when a CSO or SSO discharge begins.
– After the discharge ends, the facility must submit a
complete report including the locations and volume of the discharge.
THE CATCH – Online reporting sources are quite a bit slower

The Southeastern Oakland County Sewage Disposal Authority
(also referred to as the Twelve Towns Drain District)
was established in 1942 to address flooding problems.

How well do you think they have accomplished those goals ?
It is 2015 and Oakland County STILL has combined sewer systems,
despite LBrooksP boasting about massive revenue flow in the county.
Kuhn Basin discharges under Dequindre Road into the Red Run
located in Warren, within Macomb County.
Flooding occurs HERE in the cities of Macomb County due to
decisions made decades ago to save money by LBrooksP

ClintonRiver 10am May31_2015

ClintonRiver 10am May31_2015

Possible Flooding May 31, 2015

NOAA predicting Showers and Thunderstorms will increase
in coverage across Southeast Michigan today
as a cold front enters the region.

The potential exists for stronger storms to develop,
with wind gusts up to 50 mph.
In addition, any storms will be capable of
producing torrential downpours.
Rain will continue tonight and into Sunday.

Rainfall amounts of 1 to 3 inches will be possible through the weekend.

The ground is already fairly saturated meaning runoff will be high

FloodWatch May 30_2015

FloodWatch May 30_2015

ClintonRiver May 30_2015

ClintonRiver May 30_2015

GLWA snag over Highland Park

Rick Snyder would avoid the erase of $25.6 million dollar
waterbill debt for Highland Park, Michigan.
The debt issue is a snag in negotiations concerning
the creation of a Regional Water Authority for Metro Detroit.

Alexis Wiley, chief of staff to Mayor Mike Duggan would like
wholesale customers of DWSD water services to pick up the
slack left behind by Highland Park non-payment fiasco.

The GLWA lease is signed in two weeks on a deadline of June 14
via federal Judge Sean Cox who had placed a gag order on participants.

Water on a New Page

The bell has tolled, it’s a new age.
I support Mayor Mike Duggan and his efforts to start a new page of civic responsibility in the city.

In my opinion, in #Detroit –
Where 30,000  people owe
many are simply hustling everyone
for Tap Water Service they
take for granted daily.
~Garnish Welfare Checks Now ~
Recoup costs by force for Detroit.

If people don’t value and respect clean, clear, drinkable, water on tap,  in their households, SHUT it off now. Make it a dry holiday Memorial Weekend and watch how fast the cash pours in. A conscious deliberate choice was made, NOT to pay a small monthly water bill.
Now its a big bill….so what !
It still needs to be paid. RainBarrels might answer many folks prayers.

Drinkable water pumped into households will never be free.
Are there exceptions, “unique” circumstances, sure there are,
But Not 30,000 of them.


Political Sewage

Many massive sewage infrastructure contractors consistently appear
in mayoral and council campaign finance reports as generous contributors.

Most Michigan Drain Commissioners are elected to office.
They are public officials who function under Michigan law
to build and maintain infrastructure worth millions/billions.

Drain Commissioners run political campaigns and have fund raisers
often hosted by sewage infrastructure contractors as well.

Who or What acts as the “”Checks and Balances”” for
fair play, integrity, justice, etc in political campaigns?
Most residents have no clue where stormwater goes,
the costs associated with the infrastructure,
or the political wrangling between counties.

Perhaps there needs to be some reform in the
Political Contribution process in light of
Racketeering (RICO) Case involving
Plaintiffs :
– Macomb Interceptor Drainage District (MIDD)
– Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD)
– City of Detroit

Now with the GLWA – Great Lakes Water Authority in the mix,
along with unique INTERCOUNTY agreements already in place,
the entire political process gets ever stranger.

The Oakland-Macomb Interceptor Drainage District (OMIDD)
was established under Chapter 21 of the Michigan Drain Code.
One of the unique characteristics of a “Chapter 21” district
is that the district is physically located in multiple counties.
In this case, the OMIDD is in both Oakland and Macomb counties.

We already had the 12 Towns Drainage District which takes
stormwater from Oakland County and rams it through Warren
via the Red Run Drain into the Clinton River and Lake St. Clair.

A reminder of the OMIDD project of which Warren needs to be
a part of , to aid flooding / surcharging of existing systems.

OMID Control Structure Map

OMID Control Structure Map

Interceptor Project with Detroit

Interceptor Project with Detroit

The Detroit Interceptors for Sewage

The Detroit Interceptors for Sewage

Efficiency Service Agreements

– An excellent article written by Scott Henderson , well worth reading in its entirety. Water is truly mispriced in the USA, it is too cheap. The author hits on many similar issues facing the GLWA, DWSD and MetroDetroit.

The business case for investments in water efficiency

Scott Henderson

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The U.S. has experienced a renaissance in energy efficiency investment over the past decade, spurred by a combination of rising energy prices, greater public awareness of climate change and a thriving ecosystem of capital providers, government programs and technical solutions.

Now it’s time to pursue a similar level of investment in water.

With decade-long droughts forecasted in the U.S., it is easy to see how water efficiency projects in buildings will become a massive investment opportunity. This opportunity will be further enabled by innovative solutions in water technology as well as financing models already used by the energy efficiency industry including third-party ownership structures such as Efficiency Service Agreements (ESAs).

For Californians, not a week goes by without a reminder of how untenable our current water situation is. Whether it’s the record-setting drought, Gov. Jerry Brown’s recent announcement of a statewide mandate to cut water use by 25 percent, our outdated water and land use laws whose “use it or lose it” provisions lead some of our largest water customers to consume way more than they need, the persistent mispricing of water services or the aging infrastructure that we rely on for collecting, treating and distributing water, we need to fundamentally change the way we manage this resource.

The following statistics show just how fragile our country’s water infrastructure has become:

$600 billion — The amount of dollars required to repair all U.S. water infrastructure by 2019 (source: EPA)

$384 billion — The amount of dollars required to maintain U.S. public drinking water systems through 2030 (source: EPA)

250,000 — The number of water lines that burst in the U.S. each year (source: New York Times)

20 percent — The percentage of water supplies lost to leaks in U.S. cities annually (source: U.S. GAO) 

The figures are staggering. Especially when you consider that the federal government has been cutting, not increasing, spending on U.S. water infrastructure. It is also highly unlikely that local and state governments will be able to shoulder this financial burden alone. As a point of comparison, in 2012 and 2013 U.S. municipalities’ allocation of long-term bond proceeds to investments in water and sewage facilities were only $39 billion and $29 billion, respectively. All indicators point to a sharp increase in water prices for U.S. building owners and consumers.

Historically, water agencies generally price water based on their capital investments and operating costs, or the “delivery cost” of water. But this approach assumes that the water they sell has no value in and of itself. After you take into account the scarcity value of water as well as the massive federal subsidies that many water agencies receive and the negative impacts that water use can have on the environment, especially our steady depletion of natural aquifers, the “true cost” of water is far from the price customers see on their water bill.

To understand how mispriced our water really is, consider that the U.S. pays roughly $1.50 per cubic meter on average, while Denmark pays almost $4, Germany over $3.30, and even Portugal shells out more than $1.75. And those countries use less than a third of the water we do, on a daily average per capita basis.

Even within our borders, discrepancies in water pricing can be astounding. Consider that farmers in the Imperial Irrigation District in Southern California pay $20 per acre-foot for water, incentivizing many farmers to resort to flood irrigation to grow water-intensive crops in an otherwise exceptionally arid region. Meanwhile,residents 100 miles due west in San Diego pay more than 10 times that amount for their water.

Although thermoelectric power plants and farm irrigation constitute a whopping 77 percent of total water withdrawals in the U.S., public water supplies represent 12 percent. Within that smaller block, commercial and industrial (C&I) buildings represent 17 percent.

Water is currently relatively inexpensive for C&I customers. Yet a recent survey by theHamilton Project reported that over 60 percent of respondents in the industrial and consumer products manufacturing sectors believe they are exposed to water risks such as water scarcity, rising prices and/or regulatory changes. Business owners and managers are recognizing that water is likely to become a far more valuable commodity.

Why not contract out water efficiency management?

Several energy efficiency project development and finance companies have been created over the last five to seven years to help C&I customers address these types of concerns over water. Borrowing a model from the infrastructure industry, these developers fund, own and maintain an energy efficiency project in a customer’s facility.

The developer signs an Efficiency Services Agreement (or ESA) with the customer, in which the developer agrees to cover 100 percent of the up-front and ongoing expenditures of the project, and then charge the customer only for the savings that are realized, largely de-risking the project for the customer.

The ESA is an extension of the power purchase agreement (PPA), which has been used with great effect by developers in the renewable and conventional power markets.

A host of existing technologies and interventions are commercially available and proven to reduce water consumption in buildings in a cost-effective manner. These efficiency measures generally fall into two categories: measures that reduce the energy required to treat, distribute and collect/recycle water; and measures that conserve and/or recycle water.

The most common water efficiency measures include sanitary fixture upgrades such as aerated faucets and low-flush toilets, installing rainwater collection systems, practicing landscape irrigation/xeriscaping, and switching cooling towers from a single-pass to closed-loop system. Some building owners are installing systems that can treat their so-called “blackwater” onsite and then feed it back into the building for flushing toilets or use in the cooling towers, saving the owner up to 90 percent in water and sewer charges.

Anecdotally, conventional cooling towers consume the greatest amount of water in C&I buildings. Upgrading that tower to a closed loop system (where the same water is used five to seven times before being discarded) can result in a payback of two to three years. In fact, the average payback period for investing in water-efficient technologies in C&I facilities is one to four years. Some investments even have a payback period of less than one year when avoided wastewater charges and energy costs are considered.

Despite their shorter payback periods, water efficiency projects to date rarely have been pursued by building owners as stand-alone projects. The artificially low price of water results in an expense within building operations that is not significant enough to justify the investment of time and resources needed to pursue a capital improvement project. As a result, it has been more common to see water efficiency measures implemented as part of a much larger energy efficiency project.

However, as water and sewer services continue to rise in price and as environmental impacts reduce the water supply even further, it is likely that we will see more building owners pursue stand-alone water efficiency projects.

Although water is relatively cheap today, the data suggest that this cannot continue indefinitely. The scarcity value and true cost of operating a reliable infrastructure network necessitate that water customers, including C&I building owners, pay more for this finite resource. Rather than simply reacting to the new reality of our water supply, as scarcity increasingly becomes a business risk, building owners have an opportunity to proactively manage their water consumption through efficiency. Financing, of course, will be a critical step in this process. Luckily, energy efficiency project developers stand ready to provide owners with the flexible financing solutions such as ESAs to make water efficiency projects a reality.

House Bill threatens Clean Water Act

House of Representatives is expected to vote on the
Regulatory Integrity Protection Act (HR 1732)—a bill that would set back efforts by the U.S. EPA Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps USACE
to provide strong Clean Water Act protections around the country.

Take action, contact representatives, educate yourself  on water infrastructure issues concerning your family.

Warren connects to OMID ?

I wonder how the formation of the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) affects the final outcome for The City of Warren Michigan getting connected to the OMID project.

Warren doesn’t deserve to see any flooding events occur in the future.
Hopefully the mayor will announce some good news soon in the media when The City of Warren gets some wet weather relief.

~~click to enlarge ~~


Warren OMID Connection

Oakland needs to evolve


Progress moves forward with no regard for politicians, leaders, rulers or their past history.
It is relentless, steamrolling over those who stand in its way.

L Brooks Patterson made a decision to keep an old drainage system in Oakland County
– pure and simple.
The system in place for the 12TownsSewageDistrict of Oakland County relies on storm water mixing with sewage.
Macomb County has separated drains – one for rainstorms – one for sewage from toilets.

Communities with combined sewage overflow systems (CSOs) are outdated in 2015, they lead to overflows that pollute.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), about 850 billion gallons of untreated wastewater and storm water are released through CSOs each year in the United States.

Federal guidelines require municipalities to renovate these outdated systems to protect human health and the environment.

L Brooks Patterson has repeatedly commented in the media that Oakland County is wealthy, it has a healthy economy, etc etc.
Oakland County is full of cash.
No one would say Oakland County is struggling, impoverished, run down, or in need of help.
Years of being a selfish island ensured its economic vitality.
Time to pay up, fix the outdated combined sewer systems, eliminate the CSO discharges into the Clinton River via Red Run.

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) represents sewer districts and it realizes communities need to evolve forward.


Oakland County continues to lay more concrete, more asphalt, develop land — all of which forces more water into the drains.

Time to modernize, contribute to all citizens of Metro Detroit , via purified, sanitized, clean water discharge, every day of the year.
Straining the feces, adding some bleach, retaining the water a bit, doesn’t really cut it anymore. The old system is often overwhelmed and contributes to flooding downstream.



Who runs GLWA ?

It would appear all things water are controlled, managed, usurped, etc by OaklandCounty.
A number of items concerning water over the years seem to “occur” as MacombCounty officials stand silent in the process. I would say submissive, versus, dominant.

OaklandCounty cannot drain itself. It is in effect landlocked, NEEDING other counties to “allow” storm water to flow to lower elevations.

Click to enlarge pic below
image Total compensation 1/2 Million $$$$$$…??


image Will officials in MacombCounty actually take a stand for their citizens – or merely continously cowtow to OaklandCounty’s wishes ? People have short memories. Instead of doing sewage properly – OaklandCounty took the cheap easy way out.

Environment, clean water, recreation were NOT the priorities of
L Brooks Patterson in the past.
He did not seem concerned one bit.
Why should anyone trust the GLWA
now in 2015, if it is all 1 sided ? Hopefully no one gets steamrolled.

April thunderstorms

April 9th,  2015 has severe weather alerts all around  Warren, Michigan
NOAA forecast Tonight:

Showers and possibly a thunderstorm before 4am,
then a chance of showers and thunderstorms between 4am and 5am, then a chance of thunderstorms after 5am.
Low around 51. South southwest wind 11 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 34 mph.
Chance of precipitation is 80%.
New rainfall amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch

This is a view of Red Run at Ryan Road in Warren, MI near 8 pm



DWSD water leaks via ITRON

Detroit supposedly HAD electronic systems in place to track excessive water usage, leaks, etc back in 2007. Why is there all the chaos over -unpaid- water bills from industrial and residential customers in 2014 and 2015 ?


Back from in January 2007
Itron Inc. announced that is had signed a subcontract to provide the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) with Itron’s advanced Water Fixed Network. The contract included ServiceLink, Itron’s wireless automated dispatching/communications solution, to manage field operations more efficiently by eliminating paperwork in the field.

Itron’s Water Fixed Network (WFN) combined high-powered two-way endpoints, network collectors with flexible backhaul options, and a robust data collection engine that took fixed network technology for meter reading at water utilities beyond simple monthly consumption data. WFN could collect daily water meter readings and, through its powerful data logging functionality, provide consumption data that could be used for resource management and conservation programs.

More than 275,000 water endpoints were deployed in the City of Detroit, allowing DWSD to be proactive in detecting water leaks behind the meter, alleviating large bills for unused water and associated billing disputes.

DWSD was supposed to see benefits from Itron’s Water Fixed Network system in a number of ways including increased revenues (due to leak detection and elimination of billing errors), operational savings from reading more meters in a shorter amount of time with less people, improved cash flow from moving to monthly billing and savings from encouraging  customers to conserve according to Victor Mercado, former director of DWSD. “””We also expect to see additional benefits as we gain experience with running the system and obtaining on-demand and interval data reads, along with the collection of data.”””

“””Our customers want us to eliminate estimated reads and we want to reduce special meter reads that create additional trips for our meter readers.””” Mercado said. “””With two-way communication, we can program meters without leaving the office.”””

“””The opportunity at Detroit is exciting because you have a city that is using technology to provide its customers with exceptional performance, accuracy and customer service,”””said Malcolm Unsworth, senior vice president, hardware solutions. “””Itron’s water fixed network provides Detroit with advanced, two-way communication for streamlined meter reading and leak detection that will enable Detroit to improve efficiency and maintain flexibility for future growth.”””


Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Michigan
Thursday, May 22, 2014


Detroit Radio Network

Detroit Radio Network

I had written about the upgrades to the Detroit Radio Network in a prior post


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.