The Macomb Daily

Another step toward protecting Lake St. Clair

Sewage basin upgrades to minimize flow blending incidents

- By Susan Smiley

Combined sewage discharges into Lake St. Clair will be significan­tly reduced due to $42 million in upgrades to the Milk River retention and treatment basins, officials said on Friday.

In addition to reducing the number and volume of combined sewage overflow discharges, the upgrades are expected to reduce the concentrat­ion of discharges by 50% and remove more than 99% of bacteria and pathogens, while supporting aquatic life in the Milk River through the addition of oxygen.

“The project upgrades to such a vital piece of infrastruc­ture is a welcomed commitment by Grosse Pointe Woods and all surroundin­g communitie­s involved,” said Grosse Pointe Woods Director of Public Services Jim Kowalski, a member of the Milk River drain board. “These improvemen­ts will maintain reliabilit­y for many years to come,”

Improvemen­ts to the Milk River Intercount­y Drain District facilities, which process storm drainage from Harper Woods and St. Clair Shores and combined sewage from Grosse Pointe Woods, were recently inspected by the Michigan Department of Environmen­t, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE). The MRIDDD is operated by the Southeast Macomb Sanitary District, a consortium representi­ng a portion of St. Clair Shores, Eastpointe and Roseville.

The undergroun­d storage basins are located in Grosse Pointe Woods, where it protects the community from flooding during rain events that exceed the capacity of the downstream system, and provides chemical treatment of any discharges into Lake St. Clair.

In a letter to Peter Trombley, chief operator of the Southeast Macomb Sanitary District, EGLE stated replacemen­t and rehabilita­tion of storm pumps, an upgraded chlorinati­on system, and

the addition of channels and flap gates in the basins will contribute significan­tly to better flow management throughout the drainage area.

“This is nice acknowledg­ement from EGLE validating the improvemen­ts. In addition to the major physical improvemen­ts, the operationa­l improvemen­ts by SEMSD are deservedly recognized,” said Michael Gregg, intercount­y drain program manager at the Michigan Department of Agricultur­e & Rural Developmen­t and chairman of the Milk River Intercount­y Drain Drainage Board.

Prior to the upgrades, the basins were retaining a large depth of solids that could not be removed that significan­tly reduced the capacity of the basins and resulted in large discharges during wet weather events.

“What’s happened here is truly transforma­tional,” said Macomb County Public Works Commission­er Candice S. Miller, a member of the Milk River drain board. “The big benefactor is Lake St. Clair, and everyone who uses the lake for recreation, business or as a source of drinking water.”

Only two discharges have occurred at the facility in the past 12 months, during which EGLE water quality objectives were met.

Infrastruc­ture improvemen­ts included: refurbishm­ent and replacemen­t of pumping systems; modificati­on of facility cleaning systems to effectivel­y discharge solids to the wastewater treatment plant; repair and upgrade of the aeration system; refurbishm­ent of the disinfecti­on system; structural and architectu­ral repairs to the facilities to extend life and comply with current code; upgrades to the electrical system to improve reliabilit­y and efficiency; upgrades to the supervisor­y control and data acquisitio­n system; and upgrades to the river recirculat­ion system to enhance water quality in the Milk River.

 ?? PHOTO COURTESY MILK RIVER INTERCOUNT­Y DRAIN DRAINAGE BOARD ?? New motors were installed at Milk River drain district pumps.
PHOTO COURTESY MILK RIVER INTERCOUNT­Y DRAIN DRAINAGE BOARD New motors were installed at Milk River drain district pumps.

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