Engineers delivered a presentation on a wastewater system improvements project plan at a recent Howell City Council meeting.

Representatives commented the plant was built in the 1970’s and aging infrastructure is due for replacement. The project is designed to secure reliability, lessen risk to water quality and improve the plant for the next 20 years. It would also boost wet weather capacity to process additional flow on a short term basis. A public hearing was held on an application for funding assistance through the State Revolving Fund or SRF program - a low interest state loan to help finance the project at 2% interest rate over a 20-year loan. No one spoke during the hearing and Council later adopted a resolution approving the project plan and the associated SRF application. Mayor Nick Proctor tells WHMI many aspects of the wastewater treatment plant are deteriorating and are beyond their normal life expectancy and they need to make these improvements to stay current. He noted it is a big expense but fortunately, Marion Township and Pepsi Bottling group are going in to help defer costs but regardless, the upgrades to the plant are needed.

The total cost of the project is $14.6 (m) million. After the cost sharing contributions, the remaining City obligation will be $7.1 (m) million and repayment of the SRF loan will be apportioned to City sewer customers. The approximate rate increase for the average user is anticipated to be around $7.83 per month. Marion Township is a stakeholder in the project and Pepsi Bottling will assist with funding as it is a major industrial user and the project will improve its level of service. It is also getting out of the water treatment business. Some Council members had general questions about capacity in the future and what types of assurances would be put in place for Pepsi and Marion Township to honor their financial commitments, as the City will be responsible for the loan – all of which will be addressed in binding legal documents. The adopted project plan must be submitted to the state by July 1st. A link to the draft plan is provided. (JM)