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State provides $3M to reduce combined sewer overflows, enhance water quality in Lake St. Clair

Posted at 1:37 PM, Dec 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-21 13:37:46-05

A major infrastructure project that will enhance water quality in Lake St. Clair has received $3 million in funding from the state.

The Macomb County Public Works Office has developed a plan that will eliminate about 75 percent of the combined sewer overflows (CSO) in to Lake St. Clair from its Chapaton Retention Basin in St. Clair Shores. The $30 million plan includes a two-prong approach that will double the total storage capacity at the 50-year old basin.

“When I ran for this job, I really had one goal – to clean up Lake St. Clair from Macomb County combined sewer overflows. My hope is that other counties are doing the same, since we are all in this together, working to preserve our magnificent Great Lakes for our next generation to enjoy. This plan is a major, major step in that direction,” said Public Works Commissioner Candice S. Miller. “I am so appreciative that the State Legislature not only shares that goal, but looked at our plan and saw it as a sound investment. I have also had and will continue to have conversations with our Congressional Delegation about investing in this project.”

The existing basin in St. Clair Shores now holds about 28 million gallons of combined stormwater and sanitary sewage from Eastpointe and St. Clair Shores. During periods of heavy rain or snow melt, the capacity of underground pipes is overwhelmed and the combined sewer is diverted into the basin, where it is treated with a strong bleach mixture. When the basin reaches capacity, it overflows into the lake.

Under the new plan, two changes will be made at the basin facility, at 9 Mile and Jefferson roads:

· A canal where the overflows take place will be widened and the overflows gates in the canals will be moved closer out to the lake proper.

· A series of internal gates will be installed in the existing underground sewer pipes – some of which are 12 feet in diameter – that will allow station operators to better control the flow of the sewage and allow some of it to be stored in the pipe until the wet weather event passes.

The approaches will add about 30 million gallons of sewage storage to the system and cost about $30 million. A request for bids to design the canal portion of the project has already been published, with bids expected to be returned by late January. The gates portion of the work is expected to go out for design bids in the first two months of 2019. Construction on both projects could begin before the end of 2019.