The Shelby Township Board of Trustees unanimously approved building a new water storage facility on 2.68 acres of vacant property on 24 Mile Road near the M-53 Expressway at its April 20 meeting. The storage facility will hold 3.5 million gallons.

The Shelby Township Board of Trustees unanimously approved building a new water storage facility on 2.68 acres of vacant property on 24 Mile Road near the M-53 Expressway at its April 20 meeting. The storage facility will hold 3.5 million gallons.

Rendering by Anderson, Eckstein & Westrick Inc., provided by Brad Bates


Shelby Township to build water storage facility

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published May 3, 2021

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — During the summer of 2020, Shelby Township exceeded its maximum allowable peak water usage through the Great Lakes Water Authority, particularly in July. The township averaged more than its maximum permissible usage by as much as 10%.

The most significant factor was lawn irrigation during peak hours, which the GLWA defines as any time outside the 11 p.m.-5 a.m. window.

The Shelby Township Board of Trustees unanimously approved actions to build a new water storage facility on a $224,000, 2.68-acre vacant property on 24 Mile Road near the M-53 Expressway at its April 20 meeting in hopes of preventing future surges in peak water demand and minimizing future rate increases from the Great Lakes Water Authority.

Existing water infrastructure improvement funds will pay for the $12 million project. According to the township, anticipated savings from water costs will result in a payback on that initial investment within six years.

The township will fill the 3.5 million gallon storage facility at off-peak times, and then when the demand for water is great during peak times, the township will use the stored water to meet the demand rather than drawing more water from the GLWA. The township anticipates filling the storage facility between 11 p.m. and 4:30 a.m. and discharging it between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Township Supervisor Rick Stathakis said that this is a good investment for the township.

“The reason this is true is because of the hard work of (Department of Public Works) Director Dave Miller and our township engineers. Because Director Miller has the budget and management skills to ensure we have adequate resources for necessary infrastructure improvements, and our engineers provide the support to make this happen at a minimal cost, we will have it done this year, paid in cash with no bonding, no debt and no increase in taxes,” Stathakis said in a press release.

Miller said that the Department of Public Works is excited to enhance the water distribution system with this reservoir and pumping facility.

“It is our goal that, by curbing the peak hour factors, we can mitigate future rate increases,” he said in an email.

He said they chose a ground-level storage facility instead of an elevated storage facility for several reasons.

“First is the size of the tank. We need to be able to redistribute 3 million gallons of water back into the distribution system to offset the peak hours in the summer due to lawn irrigation. It is very difficult and expensive to construct an elevated storage facility of that size. Also, elevated storage is often used in an application where additional pressures are required within the distribution system. We will be using multiple pumps to achieve this purpose,” he said.

Miller said they wanted to make the pumping facility match the surrounding residential homes and add some attractive architectural features to the tank.

“The picture that was distributed in the press release is an actual rendering of what our facility will look like,” he said.

The water storage facility is the second step the Board of Trustees has taken after the GLWA spoke with the Shelby Township Department of Public Works to make sure that the township doesn’t repeat the extra water use of 2020.

The board’s first action was to change the township’s voluntary irrigation ordinance into a mandatory irrigation ordinance, which took effect March 10.

Under the ordinance, residents must operate sprinklers connected to the municipal water system only between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Even-numbered addresses must sprinkle on even-numbered calendar dates, and odd-numbered addresses must sprinkle on odd-numbered calendar dates.

The township said that this will also provide better water pressure for the entire system.

Miller said that if the township did not take action, it would have to increase water rates.

“Failure to reduce our peak-hour water usage, per the GLWA contractual limit, risks significant increases to our wholesale costs from the GLWA of $1.8 million annually,” he said in a press release. “This wholesale increase would result in a mandated increase to our ratepayers of roughly 13% of a household’s water bill, and these increases would last through 2027 and likely never be reduced. Adhering to the Mandatory Irrigation Ordinance is our one chance to avoid these recurring increased rates,” Miller said.

The township said it was preparing a request for proposal to solicit vendors for the storage facility’s construction. Once the township picks a vendor, it will develop a construction schedule and hold a groundbreaking ceremony.

For more information on the project, call the township at (586) 731-5990.

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