By TEREASA NIMS
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE — The public was expected, yet none showed for the public hearing Wednesday evening where members of the Department of Environment and engineers shelled out proposed improvements to the 50-plus-year-old Downriver Wastewater Treatment Facility.
Project engineer Sally Duffy, of Hubbell, Roth & Clark Inc., said the priority projects for the wastewater treatment facility include establishing another means of solids disposal, headwork improvement, interceptor system improvements and flow meter enhancement. The treatment plant services 13 cities and the state plans for the improvements to take place between 2015 and 2019.
In addition to elaborating on the project’s needed improvements, Duffy and Project Engineer Greg Tupancy of the Department of Environment Water Quality Division, said the public hearing was proposed to let residents know what money might be available to assist paying for the improvements.
“This is about maintaining it to achieve high quality,” Duffy said.
Not that the plant isn’t already performing.
“It’s an award-winning plant in terms of treatment they provide,” Duffy said.
The public hearing is required as part of the environmental review process by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
Tupancy said the state isn’t concerned with expanding the plant, only maintaining capitol projects.
“We don’t really have to expand,” Tupancy said. “The communities (that the facility serves) are pretty much built out.”
If the proposed improvements are approved, it will cost households in the 13 cities between $39 and $47 per year for the priority projects based on water use of 100,000 gallons.
On the short-term, Duffy said the positive impact would create indirect and induced employment during construction. However, the negative short-term impact would include noise, soil erosion, dust and fumes and increased traffic during construction.
Duffy said the long-term impacts include the reduction of maintenance costs and improving the quality of the Detroit River.
The proposed improvements go before the Wayne County Commission for approval Thursday.
(Tereasa Nims can be reached at [email protected].)