A regional drain system
Regional Sewer System
As seen in the 5 year plan (2013 – 2018) of
The Southeastern Oakland County Sewage Disposal Authority
(also referred to as the Twelve Towns Drain District) was established in 1942
to address flooding problems in this region. The Twelve Towns Drain
District includes the cities of Berkley, Birmingham, Clawson, Ferndale,
, , Madison Heights, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge,
Royal Oak, Southfield, Troy, and the
Village of Beverly Hills.
In 1972, the Twelve Towns Drain District completed construction of a Retention Treatment Facility (
a 20 foot high by 65 foot wide structure in the bed of the former Red Run Drain. This RTF runs
2.2 miles from Twelve Mile and Stephenson Highway in a northeastern direction to Dequindre Road
south of Whitcomb where it empties into the Red Run Drain.
During rain events, the RTF receives a combination of storm and sanitary flows from the 14 communities
that make up the District. The RTF captures this storm water and sanitary sewage and drains gradually
into the Dequindre Sewer Interceptor where flows travel south to the Detroit Water and Sewage Board
Treatment Plant. In heavy storms, after retaining 35 million gallons of combined sewage, the basin
overflows into the Red Run Drain, in Warren, after receiving primary treatment including skimming
As part of an Agreement with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), the Twelve
Towns Communities were required to plan and construct $144 million (original estimate) in improvements
to the RTF aimed at reducing the volume and the frequency of the overflows, and providing adequate
treatment of these overflows when they do occur.
Twelve Towns Contested Case Settlement
On October 22, 1998, the Director of MDEQ issued the new National Pollutant Discharge
Elimination System (NPDES) Operating Permit that allows the South Oakland County Sewerage
Disposal System (SOCSDS) to discharge Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) into the Red Run Drain
until October 1, 2003. This Permit has been renewed several times since then.
In June 2005, the communities agreed to the change and renaming
the permit to “George W. Kuhn Drainage Board
on behalf of the George W. Kuhn Drainage District”.
• Permit Key Features
The NPDES Permit includes the following key features:
1. Limits and reporting standards for the treated combined sewer overflow to the
Red Run Drain including procedures for monitoring this overflow;
2. In-stream testing for escherichia coli (e-coli) per State statute;
3. Requirements for the development of new procedures and assessment
of the operation of the RTF;
4. Discharge notification requirements;
5. The Combined Sewer Overflow control program including:
a. North Arm Relief project with 4.8 million-gallon increase in storage;
b. RTF storage capacity increase of 30 million gallons to a total of 64 million gallons;
c. Construction of a new inlet weir and related headworks including
improved treatment features;
d. Elimination of the Madison Heights separated storm sewer inputs from the RTF
by the construction of two new parallel storm sewers;
e. Elimination of the two Madison Heights combined sewer overflow interceptors to the
RTF by rerouting of them upstream of the new inlet weir structure;
f. Elimination of the Hazel Park sanitary sewer discharge to the RTF by the construction
of a new Ten Mile Road interceptor;
g. Construction of a new de-watering pump station to facilitate the removal of flows in the
early stages of a storm event by increasing discharge to the Twelve Mile Road interceptor;
h. Downspout Disconnection Program; and
i. Storm Water Input Restriction Program.
6. A December 31, 2005 deadline for the construction (started in October 2000)
of the proposed improvements;
7. Commitment by the MDEQ that the proposed CSO improvements would constitute
“adequate treatment” capable of meeting water quality standards which means no
additional improvements of the system will be required unless a problem is
uncovered and can be traced solely to the RTF or unless evidence is found as
a result of the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) review of the Red Run Drain
and the Lower Clinton River Watershed; and
8. A provision that would allow this permit to be reopened by the MDEQ or the Twelve Towns
communities based on technical and/or financial problems that may arise in the future.
• George W. Kuhn Drain
In March 1999, the Drain Board accepted petitions from the Twelve Towns Communities and established
a new drain district for this construction project named the George W. Kuhn Drain District (GWKDD).
The three major components of this construction project include Contract #1, construction of the 10-foot
parallel storm sewers north and south of the existing RTF including the disconnect of the existing Madison
Heights storm sewers and rerouting of two combined sewer interceptor; Contract #2, construction of a new
Ten Mile Road interceptor in Hazel Park; and Contract #4, construction of a new inlet weir just east of
Interstate Freeway 75 (I-75) and south of the City’s Department of Public Service Building. The project was
constructed on property owned by the GWKDD and the City. The GWKDD held a permanent easement
over the City property. Contracts #1 and #2 were initiated in the fall of 2000 and were completed in 2002.
The GWKDD approved Contract #4 on August 14, 2001
at a cost of $79.5 million or $6.1 million under engineering estimates.
Contract #4 includes the following additions:
1. Lowering and extending the existing inlet weir to eliminate
the RTF bypass gates west of I-75.
2. Adding 30 million gallons of storage.
3. A new 2,000 foot intermediate weir to the existing RTF.
4. A new 100 cubic foot per second dewatering pump station and inlet
to the combined sewer interceptor connection.
5. New disinfecting system utilizing diffusers and high-energy mixers.
6. Sodium hydrochloride feed and storage.
7. Self-cleaning fi ne screens with sluice conveyance to the outlet sewer.
8. Automatic full-coverage nozzle flushing system to convey screened solids
to the proposed dewatering pumping station.
9. Extending a rerouted combined sewer outlet line to the proposed
dewatering pump station and storage facility.
10. Electrical and instrumentation rehabilitation of the existing dewatering pump station.
11. A chemical odor control system.
Operations and Maintenance Agreement
In February 2005, the City had a major breakthrough in efforts to secure a favorable modification to the
Operation and Maintenance (O & M) Apportionment for the GWK Drain. The settlement provided the City
$3.4 million over the next five years in reduced charges and cash and an additional $449,000 in savings
annually from that point forward. The City Manager headed up the effort to have the GWK Drain Board
revise the existing O & M Apportionments to reflect the implementation of the new parallel storm sewers
and the rerouting of the City’s storm water directly to the Red Run Drain.
Key provisions of the agreement include:
1. A new O & M Apportionment adopted by the Drain District Board,
which will save the City $449,000 per year effective July 1, 2005.
2. The Drain District will credit the communities as a whole $1 million a year for the next five years
and the credits will be spread in relationship to the current apportionments
(calculating the credits based on the old apportionment which benefits Madison Heights since the
old rate will be dropped from 10.286% to 6.5409% with the adoption of the new apportionment).
In addition, the Water Resources Commissioner reserves the right to charge the communities up
to $500,000 per year for five years based on the new O & M Apportionments to fund a capital
replacement and repair reserve. Water Resources Commissioner McCulloch indicated that it
may not be necessary to impose this new charge if he determines the $18 million reserve is
adequate. The net impact of the new credit and the new charge will result in a net credit on
Madison Heights’ bill of an additional $70,000 over five years or $350,000.
3. The Drain District by agreement would agree to pay Madison Heights $850,000 to maintain
the new green open space being created west from John R to the new screen building. The
new facility consolidates many of the Madison Heights’ soccer fields in one complex at this
location including 9 soccer fields, a 230 space parking lot, a support building (including
concessions, restrooms, storage and a small meeting room/office), a playground and a picnic
shelter. The Drain District has agreed to fund all improvements except the playground (funded
by Oakland County Parks and Recreation).
4. The City would be responsible for any future treatment of storm water that it contributes
to the new parallel storm sewers to the extent of what is currently required under federal
and state law. Madison Heights would also be apportioned 94.5% of the estimated $20,000 annual cost
for the O & M Apportionment for the parallel storm sewers.
In regard to the O & M Apportionment restriction ($449,000 per year) and the
net credit ($70,000 per year), these monies will benefit the Water and Sewer Fund.
Some portion of the funds from the Soccer Field Agreement ($850,000) will need to be used to maintain
the new park over the term of the Agreement. As you add up the numbers, this is the largest
financial settlement in the City’s history and even though the funds generated will have some
restrictions, the benefits to Madison Heights are considerable.
George W. Kuhn (GWK) Improvement Project
Listed below is the status report of each of the major project
elements undertaken in the last five years.
• Contract No. 4 – RTF Improvements
The project was bid July 17, 2001 and awarded to Walbridge Aldinger. The project consisted of RTF
Improvements including construction of a 30.7 million gallon concrete basin expansion, a 9,140 square
foot Treatment Facility, modifications to existing concrete control structures, and various electrical and
mechanical systems control modifications.
The project was substantially complete on December 31, 2005. Following substantial completion, issues
arose over continued failures in the disinfection system. A settlement was recently negotiated among
contractor, subcontractor and design engineer. The contract final payment was approved by the Drainage
Board in February 2009 in the amount of $83.9 million.
• Contract No. 5 – Regulator Reconstruction and Improvements
The project was bid in July of 2005 and awarded to Weiss Construction Company. The goal of this project
was to remove and/or abandon several combined sewage flow regulators that had deteriorated beyond
repair and were no longer functioning, and replace them with new stainless steel regulators and slide gates,
as well as new level sensors and programmable logic controllers to monitor and control sewage flows.
The project was substantially complete on December 29, 2006 and final payment was made to Weiss on
November 18, 2008. After all adjustments and change order, the final contract amount is $1.2 million. The
newly installed regulators and level sensors will be monitored and adjusted on a continual basis in order to
optimize their effectiveness in controlling flood risks.
• Contract No. 6A – Structural Repairs and Access Gate Replacement
The project was bid in July of 2007 and awarded to Western Waterproofing. The GWK retention treatment
basin was constructed in the early 1970’s and was beginning to show signs of deterioration. The goal of this
project was to restore the concrete inside of the GWK retention and treatment basin including resealing all
of the construction and expansion joints and the replacement of the vehicle access roller gate
at Dequindre Road.
The dates of substantial completion for the Structural Concrete Repairs and the Access Roller Gate were
July 31, 2008 and September 30, 2008 respectively. The final contract amount is $1.4 million.
• Contract No. 6B – Flushing System Rehabilitation
The project was bid in July of 2008 and awarded to Six-S for the amount of $6.4 million. The contract
consists of the construction of approximately 11,000 feet of 20 inch diameter ductile iron pipe,
3,000 flushing nozzle piping connections and Screening Building Water Services modifications
at the Retention Treatment Facility. The date of substantial completion for the Flushing System
Rehabilitation was October 15, 2009.
• Contract No. 7 – Confined Space Entry Training Facility
The project was bid in August of 2006 and awarded to Sorensen Gross Construction. This project
consists of the construction of a confined space entry training facility, the grading and construction
of nine youth soccer fields including the infrastructure and the construction of a building and
pavilion to serve as a training/conference facility. The project was substantially complete on
October 24, 2008. The final contract amount was $1.9 million.
• Contract No. 8 – Chlorine System Rehabilitation Contract
The project was bid on February 26, 2008 and awarded to Process Piping and Equipment. The project
consists of the replacement of approximately 66 inch valves and miscellaneous appurtenances in
the disinfection system that were constructed in the Retention Treatment Facility by Walbridge
Aldinger in Contract 4. The project was substantially completed on January 1, 2009. The final
contract amount was $508,000.
• U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Projects- Project #1.
Red Run Drain Improvements and Cross Connection Repair
This project consists of repairing the drain outfalls and selected slope stabilization
along the banks of the Red Run Inter-county Drain, as well as the removal of a 48 inch
storm and 60 inch combined sewer cross connection located within the GWK drainage
system beneath John R Road near 12 Mile.
The project was awarded to Site Development on September 21, 2010 for an amount
of $2.2 million and completed in summer 2011.
– Project #2. Southfield No. 2 Drain CIPP Rehab and 66 inch SOCSDS Cleaning
This project consists of cleaning the Southeast Oakland County Sewage Disposal
System 66 inch interceptor in order to increase the maximum flows to the DWSD
system, as well as rehabilitate the 90 year old combined drains located in the Southfield
No. 2 drainage system. This project was awarded to Blaze Contracting on October 15,
2010 for an amount of $1.3 million and completed in 2011.
GWK Maintenance Fund
• The George W. Kuhn Drain Project Segments 1 – 4 and Contract 8 – Establish Maintenance Fund
and Transfer Construction Surplus
On June 15, 2010, the GWK Drain Board, pursuant to Chapter 20, Act 40 of the Public Acts of
1956, determined the George W. Kuhn Drain Project was complete with net construction surplus of
$10.8 million. The Water Resources Commission’s staff requested that $7.0 million of the surplus
reserve funds of the George W. Kuhn Drain Project be transferred to cover construction costs for
other George W. Kuhn Drain Projects as listed below:
Project Name —————————————————————— $ Dollar Amount
• GWK Segment 4 ——————————————————————– 386,000
• GWK Contract 8 ———————————————————————- 167,000
• GWK Contract 6A——————————————————————— 218,000
• GWK Contract 6B with Golf Access ———————————————-476,000
• GWK Contract 7 with Soccer Facility ————————————– 2,800,000
• SOCSDS Heavy Cleaning (ACOE Project) ————————————- 147,000
• Southfield No. 2 Drain Rehabilitation (ACOE Project)————————– 259,000
• Red Run E-Coli Reduction within GWKDD (ACOE Project)——————- 307,000
• GWK RTB Entrance Weir Baffle Wall ———————————————– 500,000
• Remove/Replace Roof – Dequindre Booster Station —————————— 50,000
• Install additional GWK Regulator – early flow to SOCSDS—————– — 500,000
• Replace Generator – Stephenson Control Building—————————— 100,000
• Remove/Replace Driveway – Stephenson Control Building——————— 25,000
• Install Rollup Doors Interior Repairs – Stephenson Garage——————– 150,000
• Southfield No. 6 Drain Rehabilitation Project————————————– 963,000
Total ———————————————————————————– $7,048,000
Further, the Board determined there is a need to have funds in a maintenance fund for the inspection,
repair and maintenance of the drain; and the amount needed is $1.2 million. Finally, the Board
determined, having provided sufficient funds to maintain the drain and to cover other drain projects,
the remaining surplus of $3.1, plus any additional interest earnings, be credited to the contributors
(municipalities and State). Madison Heights’ share of this credit will be $115,700.
Illicit Sewer Connection at 12 Mile and John R Road
As part of storm drain monitoring done in June/July 2009, the Oakland County Water Resources
Commissioner’s (OCWRC) office found a cross connection of a 48-inch storm drain and a 60-
inch combined sewer in the vicinity of the 12 Mile and John R intersection. The illicit connection
impacted the South GWK storm drain which ultimately discharges to the Red Run Drain and
Clinton River. Correction of the illicit discharge was required pursuant to the Federal NPDES
Phase II Storm Water Permit.
Following further investigation and the completion of a consultant’s report in October 2009, the
OCWRC was able to successfully include this sewer separation as part of a US Army Corps of
Engineers $2.2 million project which also included repairs to the Red Run Drain in Macomb
County. In addition to eliminating the illicit cross connection, the contractor also constructed 415
feet of new line ranging from 48 to 60 inches in diameter. This project, which was funded by the
Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, did not require a City contribution.