Construction of a new biofilter has been implemented on 15 Mile Road, west of Garfield Road, in Fraser to help alleviate the issue of foul sewage scents and to improve infrastructure in the area.

Construction of a new biofilter has been implemented on 15 Mile Road, west of Garfield Road, in Fraser to help alleviate the issue of foul sewage scents and to improve infrastructure in the area.

Photo provided by the Macomb Public Works Office

New biofilter to remedy sewer issues in Fraser

By: Brendan Losinski | Fraser-Clinton Chronicle | Published November 8, 2023


FRASER — A Fraser neighborhood will get some relief for their noses while community infrastructure gets an upgrade.

As of Nov. 1, construction is more than halfway complete on the new biofilter on 15 Mile Road that will reduce the sewage odor in the 15 Mile Road/Garfield Road area along the city’s northern border with Clinton Township.

The new infrastructure project was completed by the Macomb County Public Works Office and will protect a major sewer system from corrosive gas while also greatly reducing the stench that has periodically plagued a neighborhood for years.

“We sympathize with the residents and business owners and their employees who have put up with the periodic odor for years even before I took this office,” Public Works Commissioner Candice S. Miller said in a press release. “The difference is we’re now doing something about it in an advanced way.”

The existing Fraser biofilter site had been composed of three open beds of wood chips that acted as a filter to absorb hydrogen sulfide gas from the concrete pipe of the Macomb Interceptor Drain. Those have been removed and are being replaced with a new, enclosed concrete structure that will contain an engineered carbon material that will better absorb the gas via two foul air ducts connected to the Macomb Interceptor Drain and remove the odor before discharging cleaner air into the atmosphere. The project is expected to be completed by March 2024.

The Macomb Interceptor, which ranges in diameter from 8 feet to 11 1/2 feet, carries the sewage from nearly 600,000 people in the drainage district that includes 11 of Macomb County’s communities.

“The biofilter project follows a system-wide study of the Macomb Interceptor Drain network of pipes and connected underground structures to evaluate the need for additional facilities to mitigate cement pipe degradation caused by corrosive hydrogen sulfide gas and to better control odors emitted by the interceptor near homes, businesses and public spaces,” Norb Franz, the communications manager for Macomb County Public Works, said in an email. “In addition to the Fraser location, system improvements are being made at locations in Chesterfield Township, Clinton Township and Macomb Township.”

The total cost for the four system improvements will be $12 million and is funded using American Rescue Plan Act funds, which means the project was completed without any cost increases to ratepayers in the Macomb Interceptor’s drainage district.

“The Fraser biofilter construction site is located just west of the 15 Mile-Garfield intersection where a construction crew continues to painstakingly remove grit and sediment from the interceptor to prepare it for the installation of a glass fiber-reinforced impervious liner to protect the pipe from further degradation and avert a potential collapse,” Franz said. “In recent months, there have been scattered upticks in odor because of the wood chip biofilter being taken offline and when sewage flow has had to be temporarily held back each day that the construction crew works inside the pipe.”

The stability of the Macomb Interceptor Drain has been of particular concern to area residents ever since a large sinkhole connected to the line collapsed in 2016 resulting in numerous issues in the following years.

Miller said that such improvements will not only lead to quality-of-life improvements for residents but will better avert future infrastructure issues.

“We’re doing all these projects so that we don’t have another sinkhole on 15 Mile again,” Miller wrote. “We are so incredibly appreciative of the patience that we have received from the public. We are fixing this stuff for the next generation, not just us.”