By Mike Kruzman /

Marion Township officials are investigating a larger-than-normal spike in sewer flow.

Supervisor Bob Hanvey provided quarterly sewer flow data dating back to 2014 to the Board of Trustees, at their latest meeting. This was spurred on by a dramatic jump last year, that began in the summer and continued through the 4th quarter. There was uncertainty from Hanvey at the meeting at what caused this. He said looking at the readings from pump stations, it’s not obvious that it’s come from any one station. The Parker Middle School pump station came under suspicion due to the Marion Oaks development, but Hanvey said its readings were reasonable.

According to the provided data from the past 8 years, the difference between the gallons on the Peavy pump station meter and the total gallons on MHOG billing generally runs between 2 to 6.4-million gallons. In 2021, however, the Peavy station reported 11-million more gallons than MHOG billed.

Hanvey explained the billing process and how it’s off more than normal. He said, “The billing we do for the sewer comes from the water meter reads. Those are done by Genoa; they send us a report every quarter. The sewer meetings are done monthly by Howell City and we get those once a month. So the reading dates are never quite the same, but they won’t be off by that many…millions of gallons.”

The township has roughly 75 flat rates for sewers, and applying the average use and adding those to the total didn’t help to explain the gap, either.

Township engineer Phil Westmoreland was in attendance and discussed that while the last three quarters have been very wet and the pattern has been creeping up, this was a jump. He said doing an inflow and infiltration study to detect ground and storm water getting in would be pricey for a system their size.

The Board of Trustees, instead, elected to have the meters calibrated, something which was said to not have been done in recent memory. Meanwhile, they will continue to monitor the quarterly numbers to see if further action will be needed.