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Project for 2 Counties

Red Run Drain funding benefits two counties

Published: Friday, September 04, 2009
By Chad Selweski, Daily Tribune Staff Writer

Although Oakland County received a majority of the federal stimulus funding for a $3.75 million drain project, most of the work on the Red Run Drain will be done in Macomb County.
The improvement project that was announced recently by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers came as a surprise to two committees that oversee Macomb County’s waterways. None of the members of the Water Quality Board, or a second panel that proposes remedial work on the Clinton River and its tributaries, had requested the funding. None of the members knew the project was in the works.
The request for the funding came from Oakland County, which offered it as a potential “shovel ready” project eligible for stimulus money. Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner John McCulloch had agreed to contribute 25 percent — $1.2 million — to stabilize stream banks and remove sandbars in the Macomb County portion of the drain.
The Red Run Drain’s headquarters are in Madison Heights. It flows through Warren and a portion of Sterling Heights, where it empties into the Clinton River.
Some Macomb officials were “flabbergasted” at the amount awarded for the Oakland County dredging project because relatively low-budget proposals on the Macomb side of Dequindre were rejected.

“Our office was surprised by the amount of money Oakland County received, but the important thing is that it will help the Red Run Drain and a large part of the Red Run is in Macomb County,” Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Anthony Marrocco said. “So, Macomb County residents will realize a benefit from Oakland County’s good fortune.”
Lynn Duerod, a spokeswoman for the Corps of Engineers Detroit District Office, said the Corps started with a “blanket call-out” for stimulus projects related to improving waterways. Approximately 5,000 proposals
were submitted nationwide.

Steve Korth, manager of the Oakland County Water Resources Office, said there’s no mystery as to why Oakland proposed improvements within Macomb County and offered to help pay for the work.
Korth said that Oakland and Macomb have joint jurisdiction over the drain, and 15 communities in Oakland rely on the Red Run and its man-made tributaries for drainage during rain storms.
“We hired an engineering consultant to do a study (in 2006) and he surveyed the entire length” of the drain, Korth said. The conclusion was that the removal of sediment and shoals — or sandbars — was necessary, plus stabilization work on some of the banks.
The project, Korth said, is designed to improve water flow. The sediment to be removed is not believed to be contaminated.

The Red Run is the waterway used by the massive GWK Drain in Madison Heights — formerly known as Twelve Towns Drain — to discharge sewage overflows.
The required local matching money will be paid out of a maintenance fund for the Red Run Drainage District. The communities within the district pay assessments to the fund.
In Oakland County, the district consists of Berkley, Birmingham, Clawson, Ferndale, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Madison Heights, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge, Rochester Hills, Royal Oak, Royal Oak Township, Southfield, Troy and Beverly Hills.
In Macomb County, Center Line, Warren, Sterling Heights, Clinton Township and Shelby Township are part of the district.

The project will begin with $210,000 in design work, followed by $3.5 million in construction, with all work performed by contractors.
Corps officials say the actual dredging will begin next year. The length of the drain that will be restored will depend on the upcoming design and the funds available.

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