Clinton Township reaches tentative sewer agreement

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published February 19, 2014


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — After a long period of deliberation, the sewers of Clinton Township are set for a fresh upgrade.

At the Feb. 10 township board meeting, the board unanimously approved the bid and eventual construction of the forced main sewer option in District A. Previous back-and-forth evaluation analyzed whether the forced main option or a gravity system would be more beneficial in both cost and practicality over a long period of time.

In the end, the forced main option turned out to be more financially sensible and more pragmatic.

“The forced-main option, of course, was a lower cost when compared to the gravity, in terms of the initial bid amount,” said Scott Chabot, the senior project manager of Giffels Webster. Giffels Webster is the township’s engineering team that crunched all the numbers, along with the help of Mary Bednar and others in the township’s public services department. “Looking at costs associated, the forced main does have higher yearly costs, but looking at it from a 20-year present-worth analysis per the DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality), there’s still a sizeable difference with the costs for the forced main versus the gravity.”

Chabot added that a $1.4 million difference exists, based on present-worth evaluation. And an almost $1 million difference exists over a 50-year analysis, as well, further confirming the project is “under budget.”

Regarding that 20-year evaluation that was conducted, Giffels Webster found that the present value of a forced main option costs $1,465,983 less than the present option of a trenchless gravity sewer option. Giffels Webster met with the township’s sewer committee on Feb. 3 to unveil their findings and receive feedback, of which the committee approved.

Sterling Heights-based DVM Utilities was the low bidder at the total price of $4,146,675.85.

Chabot explained that DVM is a local contractor that specializes in construction pump stations and horizontal directional drilling, mostly involving sanitary sewers and water mains. He added that they have an extensive résumé of projects that were conducted by doing horizontal directional drilling and other projects of that nature.

Loren Crandell, another Giffels Webster engineer involved with the project, said he was very impressed with the projects DVM has done.

Public Services Director Mary Bednar said that such projects require that you actually have pumps, so the township is basically substituting the pumps. Runoff will no longer go into storm sewers and will go into the slow forced-main pressure system.

Township Attorney Jack Dolan mentioned three reasons the forced main option is ultimately more beneficial than the gravity option, both in the present and in the long-term.

“Number one, even though this is a system where we’re relying on drilling, we have to dig down into the ground and create a trench in order to put the drill through a different location,” Dolan said.

He mentioned data patterns of the soils in the area and how that could lead to a condition that requires dewatering, which is putting in pumps and well points to take out water before the excavation and work can even be done. The shallower the trench, the less likely they have to dewater.

“Secondly,” Dolan added, “we dig these trenches, and since they are much shallower, the issues of the width of the trench and the stability of the walls of the trench and the need to secure that excavation is less than possibly digging down twice as deep as the gravity sewer.

“Third, what we’re putting in is a forced main — a singular sanitary sewer that will simply carry away what amounts to excess flows. Any conflict of coming into contact with an underground structure, such as a lead, is substantially reduced because the forced main is at a higher elevation.”

Previous goals were to start construction in the first or second quarter of 2014. The board’s approval of a tentative deal means that they need confirmation from the DEQ.

“Ultimately, the DEQ will take this tentative award along with all the rest of the submitted bid materials and have themselves subject to their final approval,” Chabot said. “At this point, we’ve given some of this information early so they can help to move the process along quicker, and I’m still waiting to hear if there’s any further discussions or questions on their behalf.”

There is no definitive date of when construction will commence.