A new Warren sewer project for 2014
Proposed Warren sewer project
By Norb Franz
Wednesday, January 23,2013
The Macomb Daily
Serving Serving Macomb County, MI.
Upgrades at the Warren Waste Water Treatment Plant are among
options recommended to prevent sanitary sewer overflows
and alleviate basement flooding.
A proposed project to prevent sewer overflows and basement
flooding in Warren could carry a hefty price tag and drive
water bills higher.
Engineers hired by the city to develop solutions for boosting the
capacity of the waste water treatment system to handle very
heavy rain and prevent sanitary sewer overflows have recommended
that a major line located on Warren’s east side be connected
to the massive Oakland Macomb Interceptor that runs parallel to it
in the ITC corridor.
The engineers estimated the project, which was the cheapest of
four options, could cost $21.75 million.
Each construction scenario studied also would require that
installation of new “relief” sewer lines along several of
the major east-west roads in the city,
at a cost of $6.4 million.
But the head of the Warren Waste Water Treatment Plant and a
city engineer said the total price of connecting to the
Oakland Macomb Interceptor could total around $30 million.
“In my opinion, it is the best solution,” said David Monette,
who directs operations at the city-owned treatment facility
on Warkop Avenue, near 14 Mile Road and Van Dyke.
“We’ve been struggling for years to come up with the best
option to deal with this,” he said.
“We know we need to do something. We want to do it the best
way we can. It’s got to be a long-term solution.”
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has forced
Warren to make improvements to its waste water treatment
system to meet new environmental mandates.
During heavy and prolonged downpours, some ground water gets
into the city’s sanitary sewer system.
When the volume exceeds the capacity of the pipes,
partially treated sewage is discharged into the Red Run Drain
and raw sewage may back up in basements.
Much of basement flooding has occurred on the city’s east side.
After raw sewage backups in 1998, affected residents angrily
pleaded with city officials for relief.
A class-action lawsuit involving hundreds of residents was
filed in 2000. After a 12-year court battle, the plaintiffs and
the city settled the case last October for $1.42 million.
Under the current permit to operate its own waste water treatment
facility, the DEQ has mandated that improvements be made to meet
national standards to prevent any sanitary sewer overflows,
also known as SSO’s, from occurring.
METCO engineers recommended the connection of the Warren waste water
system to the Oakland Macomb Interceptor. Two overflow chambers would
be constructed below ground, and flow that exceeds the capacity of
the city’s 428 miles of sanitary sewers would discharge into a
12-foot-9 diameter section of the Interceptor.
The giant sewer stretches 21 miles, from the area of 23 Mile and
Dequindre roads, south through Sterling Heights and then to the
ITC corridor before sewage reaches a pumping station near
Eight Mile and Hoover roads in Detroit.
Any sewage that pours into the Oakland Macomb Interceptor would
be measured and eventually flow into the Detroit Water and
Sewerage Department system where it would be treated.
The city would be billed for that treatment process,
which includes disinfectant.
The project would require new relief sewers along 13 Mile, 12 Mile,
10 Mile and Interstate 696.
Warren officials on Tuesday took the first formal step toward
construction of new sewer lines. The City Council voted late
Tuesday to petition the Macomb County Public Works Office to
include Warren in the Macomb County Wastewater Disposal District.
Joining the district would obligate Warren to pay member fees
and charges paid by other municipalities.
The council resolution approved unanimously states, in part:
“It is immediately necessary to preserve and protect the
public health and welfare of the City of Warren that one
of more sewer connections are made to the Oakland Macomb
Interceptor to provide emergency capacity for handling
excess sewerage flows in Warren’s wastewater collection
system during wet weather events.”
City administrators have been negotiating with county
Public Works Commissioner Anthony Marrocco to determine
who will finance, design, publicly bid and oversee
construction of the sewer inter-connections.
After getting a 1-year extension from the DEQ, the city must
submit a project design to the state by the end of 2013.
Todd Schaedig, facilities engineer at the Warren Waste Water
Treatment Plant, said officials expect construction
would begin by June 2014.
The project potentially may be financed using low-interest bonds
under a state revolving fund for infrastructure projects.
A portion of water/sewer bills collected by the city has
been set aside in recent years to fund upgrades that officials
expected the state would require.
Officials acknowledge that more rate hikes may be in store to
pay off bonds over a 20-year period.
According to the METCO report, the other sanitary sewage handling
options — each of which would require the relief sewers along
the “mile roads” — include:
*Disconnection of footing drains from the sanitary sewer leads
at 15,200 homes and redirect the storm water flow to the
city’s East Trunk Sewer. The project is estimated at $152.6 million.
*New relief sewers along 13 Mile, 12 Mile, 10 Mile and Interstate 696,
plus improved pumping capacity at the waste water treatment plant
and the Nine Mile Pumping Station. Total estimated cost: $58.5 million.
*Construction of a 92 million-gallon, 20-foot-deep detention basin
plus pumping station improvements, for $74 million; or an underground
tunnel approximately five miles long, at $119 million.
In addition to meeting the mandate that no sanitary sewer
overflows occur, “these solutions are also required to be
designed to alleviate historical problematic basement flooding,”
the firm’s report states.
METCO engineers studied the capacity of the Warren’s system based
on a so-called “24-hour” rainstorm that MDEQ predicts would occur
once every 25 years, producing 3.9 inches of rain.
Records show Warren reported 24 overflows,
totaling 443 million gallons of sewage,
from the waste water treatment plant in 2011.
Schaedig said Warren records an average of
seven or eight overflows of sanitary sewage each year.