By Jessica Mathews /

With all of the recent rain and flooding in different communities and more in the forecast, improvements to the City of Howell’s Wastewater Treatment Plant appear to be paying off.

The City, Marion Township, and Pepsi Bottling Group earlier partnered on a $16.3 (m) million improvement project at the plant off South Michigan Avenue. Work got underway in March and it was reported during Monday night’s City Council meeting that the wastewater treatment plant is in full production.

City Manager Erv Suida said it’s amazing to see the work that’s been done and what’s left to do, calling it an impressive project that he thinks is going to make a lot of plant operators envious because of some of the processes they’re doing.

When questioned as to whether there were any overflow problems with all of the rain lately, Suida said there weren’t and gave kudos to the staff. He noted that they’re limited during construction and a lot of components are taken down and only half working. Suida said the City got almost 4 inches of rain as of Sunday and there was no sanitary sewer overflow, although it is possible depending on Monday’s rain and with more forecast this week.

Suida said the City is at max capacity in their equalization basins so if they do get much more rain, then there would likely be a sanitary sewer overflow but stressed it would be extremely diluted. He said they don’t anticipate anything near like what happened in Macomb County with an overflow into the St. Clair River but it is possible if the rain keeps up.

Suida noted further that improvements made to Fowler Street have really paid off, which was prone to historical flooding, and a property owner reported no problems this past weekend.

Some of the renovations and upgrades at the Wastewater Treatment Plant include enhanced secondary treatment, a new solids dewatering process, headworks replacement and replacement of aging infrastructure throughout the facility.