By SUE SUCHYTA
DEARBORN — The city’s massive and disruptive sewer separation project, a result of the federally mandated Combined Sewer Overflow Control, will end in 2021, years ahead of schedule, city officials announced.
The project, which was anticipated to take until 2025, is expected to realize a November 2021 completed date.
The final phase will occur along several private parking lots and buildings along Michigan Avenue, between Telegraph and Gulley roads.
The CSO project, which began in 2006, allowed the city to simultaneously upgrade its infrastructure, including sewer lines, water mains, sidewalks and roadways.
The city completed 50 miles of new concrete roadway and 40 miles of new water lines. In addition, approximately $1.5 million in yearly costs of operation, maintenance, and storm water sewage treatment has been eliminated because of the project.
The Michigan Department of Environmental, Great Lakes and Energy issued the CSO permit, based on the federal mandate to eliminate the discharge of untreated waste water into the Rouge River.
Sewer separation allows rainwater to travel in a separate pipe, preventing the contamination of sewage into the river during heavy downpours that overwhelmed the system.
From 2022 through 2026, the city of Dearborn plans to construct a screening and disinfection facility to address the failed caisson sites, the chambers designed in the past to temporarily store a waste and rainwater mixture.
The planned facility will be constructed along the Rouge River and away from the city’s neighborhoods, in conjunction with the CSO control.
The city has had mixed success with federally mandated CSO projects dating back to the 1990s.
In the 1990s, the concept of constructing a deep rock tunnel to temporarily store a mixture of waste and rain waters was implemented as means of CSO control; however, the project did not succeed and so was abandoned.
Later, in early 2000, construction of a deep sinking caisson concept to temporarily store a mixture of waste and rain waters was implemented to mitigate CSO control. The caisson concept was proven a partial success with three caissons operating and three caissons abandoned; therefore, the caisson concept was abandoned and replaced with sewer separation.