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January 16, 2013

Fraser gravity sewer receives national award

By Nico Rubello
C & G Staff Writer

FRASER — Recognizing the environmental consciousness of Fraser’s Hayes Masonic Sanitary Interceptor, the Detroit Metro branch of the American Public Works Association recently honored the gravity sewer with one of its awards for outstanding projects.

The implementation of the sanitary gravity sewer most notably stopped massive sanitary sewer overflows that had been occurring for more than a decade within the old sewer system. All told, the $13 million sanitary sewer project took roughly a year-and-a-half to complete.

“It caught us by surprise,” said Fraser City Manager Rich Haberman of the American Public Works Association award. “It was a project unique to the area, and to be recognized by the APWA is fairly significant.”

The APWA is a national professional association — with chapters in each state, and sub-branches within each chapter — comprising public works professionals in the private and public sectors.

The award was one of four given out this year by the Detroit Metro branch. Awards are given out annually to various public works projects, said Lia Michaels of the APWA Detroit Metro branch.

Before the completion of the gravity sewer project in 2011, massive sanitary sewer overflows had been a problem.

Construction crews installed the gravity sewer by tunneling it about 30 feet underground.

Scott Lockwood, Fraser’s consulting engineer, said the process minimized surface-level disruption to traffic, residents and businesses during the construction process, unlike the alternative of using open trenches.

Lockwood, who works for Anderson, Eckstein and Westrick Inc., said the underground model is more environmentally sensitive to nearby wetlands.

The sewer was designed by Anderson, Eckstein and Westrick and constructed by L. D’Agostini & Sons Inc.

Most notably, the project allowed the city to take four aging pump stations offline, including the especially problematic pump station at Beacon Lane and Masonic. This, in turn, cut operating costs and, mostly notably, stopped regular sanitary sewer overflows that followed heavy rainfalls. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality was issuing fines and penalties for the overflows, which led to dumping into Lake St. Clair and the Clinton River.

Lockwood said he was very proud of the positive impact the project has on every community around it.

The Hayes Masonic Sanitary Interceptor now goes on to compete for APWA awards at the state level, Michaels said.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Nico Rubello at nrubello@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1118.