By SUE SUCHYTA
DEARBORN – The City Council will decide Sept. 27 whether to award a consulting contract for green stormwater infrastructure to Drummond Carpenter, an Orlando-based environmental engineering firm to help mitigate flooding.
This is in addition to the larger water and sewer infrastructure project approved earlier.
Mayor Abdullah Hammoud said they thought it was not prudent to wait for the completion of the larger study before addressing GSI needs on projects currently approved and under way.
“Green” infrastructure is designed to retain and treat stormwater where it falls, reducing and slowing down street runoff that drains into the city’s combined storm sewer systems.
The city has faced serious challenges managing rainfall and snowmelt runoff in the past. With aging infrastructure and changes in precipitation patterns, the extensive presence of surfaces like roadways and parking lots that don’t allow water to pass through causes flooding. The runoff in turn pollutes waterways like the Rouge River.
Climate change, with increased rainfall, may continue to overwhelm the city’s stormwater sewers, and failure to address the problem continues to put the health and safety of residents at risk, city officials said.
The requested budget of $40,000, which is budgeted from the sewer fund, the sewer division and the professional service fund, would be awarded immediately, if passed, to Drummond Carpenter, with a Dec. 31, 2023, anticipated completion date.
Drummond Carpenter is known for its expertise in integrating GSI with existing “gray” stormwater infrastructure, and has completed visioning studies for more than 20 Michigan communities.
The firm will provide technical advice to the city on an as-needed basis to implement and integrate GSI into road and parking lot improvement projects.
Hammoud said Drummond Carpenter would help the city to incorporate GSI immediately, instead of delaying.
“Looking at the projects that we currently have open, we would include things like permeable surfaces and better storm water collection and retention,” he said. “It’s for us to learn the tricks of the trade, incorporating those green stormwater practices in addition to waiting for the full two-year study.”
Hammoud said Drummond Carpenter is a consultant and is not doing any actual infrastructure work.
“They are working with our engineering department and as we have projects come up that pertain to water, sewers and roads, they will provide us with what else we should be implementing while we are digging this up already, what we could incorporate for better storm water retention.”
Councilmember Mustapha Hammoud asked if city ordinances would be changed to make them more GSI compatible, to which the mayor said city officials would not be focusing on that at this point in time.
The mayor said the consultants can provide real-time feedback on current construction projects while the city is waiting for the larger long-term infrastructure study to be completed.
He said they will be reviewing the immediate upcoming project plans with the consultants to see what can be done.
“It’s going to be very proactive,” Abdullah Hammoud said.