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$21.75 million sewer plan awaits further approvals

February 25, 2013

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Water treated at the Warren Waste Water Treatment Plant is discharged into the Red Run. Officials said a plan to construct relief drains and to tie into the Oakland-Macomb Interceptor would prevent basement flooding in some areas when extremely heavy rains overwhelm the city’s capacity to store and treat combined storm water and sanitary sewage.

WARREN — A plan to prevent sewer backups during the heaviest rains by tapping into the Oakland-Macomb Interceptor and installing relief drains along several mile roads still awaits further approvals at the local and county levels, city officials said last week.

According to Dave Monette, division head at the Warren Waste Water Treatment Plant, work on a recommended $21.75 million plan that would alleviate some basement flooding during the heaviest rains, primarily on the eastern side of the city, was scheduled to commence in June. 

However, he said the Warren City Council still needed to approve an extended engineering contract and that final approvals remained pending through the Oakland-Macomb Interceptor’s Drainage Board.

Monette said the project would involve the installation of new relief sewers along 10 Mile Road, the I-696 service drive, 12 Mile and 13 Mile roads, and an overflow connection with the Oakland Macomb Interceptor that runs north and south along the Edison Corridor, between Hoover and Schoenherr.

The massive endeavor was designed to relieve parts of Warren’s sanitary sewer system that can become flooded when storm water infiltrates the system during the heaviest rains, resulting in sewer backups.

“This option we’re looking at, with this connection to the OMI and there are some mile-road relief sewers, this is the cheapest option,” Monette said last week. “It’s slow. All the final approvals aren’t there yet. It’s going to provide tremendous relief when we have the extreme rain events, where our system is overwhelmed.”

The city currently has a retention basin at the Waste Water Treatment Plant that is capable of holding 50 million gallons. However, due to the age of the system and its configuration, that’s not enough to prevent flooding in some areas during the city’s heaviest rains, historically.   

Other more-costly options addressed in a report drafted by Metco Services, Inc., the city’s engineering consultant for the project, included a “source removal” plan to eliminate infiltration within the system that would cost an estimated $152.6 million; beefing up the existing system to enable larger flows for $58.5 million; constructing an above-ground 92-million-gallon retention basin for $74 million; and building an underground tunnel from the Nine Mile pumping station along the eastern sewer line to the existing retention basin at the treatment plant for $119 million.

Officials said once the Oakland-Macomb Interceptor connection is complete, the city would intermittently discharge sewage that would travel via the interceptor for treatment in Detroit through the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

The plan is dependent upon the city of Warren joining the Oakland-Macomb Interceptor Drainage District, an entity already serving more than 20 communities and 833,000 customers in the two counties.

The city would eventually incur charges for that, and would also be required to pay for waste treatment through the DWSD. Exactly what that would cost end users in Warren remained unclear, but officials said the city would be charged the “going rate” for treatment and potentially a “standby” fee because of the city’s limited use of the system.

The construction of the relief sewers and the interceptor connection would be financed at a low interest rate through the State Revolving Fund.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts said the project was still moving forward, despite a series of delays.

The targeted date for construction to end was Dec. 1, 2016.

“If we get this interceptor project completed, we can drastically curtail the amount of flooding,” Fouts said.

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