The Sumpter Township Board of Trustees approved spending $3,000 to apply for a State S-2 grant of $1 million to design a wastewater treatment plant.
At its regular meeting Oct. 9, the board voted unanimously to have Hennessey Engineers apply for the $1 million grant, which would cost the township $100,000 in matching funds.
John Hennessey told the board that the Ypsilanti Community Utilities Authority [YCUA] service agreement is ending and negotiations are under way to extend it. Sources say the cost for YCUA to continue to treat Sumpter’s sewage will be going up substantially.
Sumpter currently pumps sewage uphill to YCUA and grinder pumps are needed in some residential systems to move the sewage along.
There is a 40-foot drop in elevation from the northwestern corner of the township (YCUA) to the southeastern corner (the proposed site of a new wastewater treatment plant).
The proposed system would have a gravity flow, so the grinder pumps could be dispensed with.
Hennessey said there are discussions with Republic Services and Waste Management to help with the matching funds. He said after the study is done, the DEQ could agree with it all or part of the plan.
“This gives us time to develop an agreement with Republic and Waste management” for construction of the plant, Hennessey said.
He said the DEQ is in favor of Sumpter upgrading its system and converting more to gravity flow.
He said the study will include alternatives and potential routes.
“If Republic and Waste Management don’t want it, we don’t have to accept the grant,” Hennessey said, adding the board would have to vote on the grant.
He said the study they have approved will not fund the design, but they are looking to get rid of grinder pumps.
Currently some 34 million gallons of leachate is going by truck yearly from Republic Waste landfill to YCUA, and would be for 50 more years, so the landfill could save quite a bit in the trucking.
“Me and Johnny have been working on this for years, to bring sewer to the south end,” said Deputy Supervisor Craig Moody, referring to Supervisor Johnny Vawters.
“Republic Waste was almost ready at one point to pick up the whole thing,” Supervisor Vawters said, adding then the economy went bad and that plan ended.
Hennessey said it will take them about a week and a half to get the application to the DEQ and then it will take the DEQ up to 90 days to reply. Then, if it gets the grant award, the township has three years to do something.
Hennessey said a sanitary sewer bill, S-2, was passed by the State of Michigan because a lot of communities were struggling to afford studies of their systems.
Hennessey said if the new gravitational system is approved, they will have to install new pipes and new lift stations. The current 6” lines will have to become 36” lines. The retrofits to the system will all be done by the project and not by individual homeowners, he said.
“We’re going to correct the problems for homeowners, at no cost to the homeowners,” he said, explaining he meant those that are already with sewer service. New services would have to pay to hook in, he said.
In other business at the Oct. 9 meeting, the board:
• Heard Anne Rossio, Republican candidate for State Representative in newly created District 17, report her background and how she has gone door-knocking in all the precincts in Sumpter seeking votes;
• Officially approved the 2012-13 voted tax millage of 4 mills: 1 allocated mill plus 3 extra voted mills for police operating;
• Tabled a proposal to repair two large “Welcome to Sumpter Township” signs at a cost not to exceed $10,000, because it was thought that was too expensive. The sign at Rawsonville and Bemis was run over and probably is covered by insurance. The one at Oakville Waltz and Sumpter roads is deteriorated and fading. Trustee Peggy Morgan said when the signs were put up it sounded like they would last forever. She said the picture of the State of Michigan on the sign design doesn’t have an upper peninsula. She said they could look into new signs that had flower planters underneath. Trustee Alan Bates said he talked to the person who made the community center sign and an 8’x8’ sign would cost just 20% of the $10,000 price. The project was tabled for a chance to get quotes;
• Learned the seniors’ annual craft show to earn money for a Christmas party will be held Nov. 2 and 3 at the community center; and
• Heard Supervisor Vawters remind everyone that there were only 28 days until the General Election and the township has 8,000 registered voters and 20% don’t vote. He urged everyone to come out and vote and, “If you don’t want to vote, vote anyway.” He said a higher number of votes in a township increases its value.