Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller explains plans for the inspection of sanitary sewer infrastructure in the county.

Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller explains plans for the inspection of sanitary sewer infrastructure in the county.

Photo provided by the Macomb County Public Works Office


Regular inspections to uncover problems in the pipes

By: Kristyne E. Demske | C&G Newspapers | Published October 15, 2020

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MACOMB COUNTY — The Macomb County Public Works Office doesn’t want to be caught unaware of a problem again.

After a sinkhole appeared on 15 Mile Road in Fraser on Dec. 24, 2016, Candice Miller — who had just been elected Public Works Commissioner at the time — ordered the inspection of 17 miles of pipe in the Macomb Interceptor Drain Drainage District, or MIDD.

Sewage from 11 communities passes through the system, down 15 Mile Road and eventually to Detroit for treatment.

“We have subsequently done several million dollars worth of grouting to stop water infiltration into the interceptor at some critical locations,” such as under the Red Run Drain and Clinton River. Miller said if a pipe collapse were to occur in those areas, it would be disastrous.

After receiving the results of the inspection, the Public Works Office awarded a $28 million contract for installation of an impervious lining that should keep the pipe strong for decades, Miller said.

It’s been three years since that initial inspection, and now Miller wants to reinspect the MIDD, along with other large sanitary sewers under the office’s jurisdiction — a total of 26 miles —  along with 360 manholes and other aspects of sanitary sewage infrastructure.

“We are going to have a very regular inspection program, now,” she said.

Along with the MIDD, the affected major sewers include districts like Chapaton, which handles sewage flow from the cities of Eastpointe and St. Clair Shores, and the Martin sanitary district in Roseville. Reinforced concrete pipes will be inspected every six years, and non-reinforced concrete pipes will be checked every three years.

The Macomb County Public Works Office does not provide project cost estimates until bids are received, as it does not want to jeopardize the bidding process and the chances of receiving a lower bid. The project has been fully budgeted for, through the various drain districts.

The project was expected to go out for competitive bidding by mid-October, with the goal of awarding a contract before the end of December. Miller said she hoped the inspections would be completed in 2021.

“It’s something that people don’t really think about, (but) it’s really important that we have a regular, prescribed inspection schedule, and then we do maintenance as needed,” she said.

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