City approves EGLE application for funding to upgrade wastewater treatment plant

CHEBOYGAN — After a public hearing on July 14, members of the Cheboygan City Council voted unanimously to ask the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy for financial assistance to upgrade the station. city ​​wastewater treatment.

The funds would come from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, also known as the state revolving fund. The state’s revolving fund program provides low-interest loans for the planning, design, and construction of qualifying wastewater treatment projects.

“As you know, we worked very hard to get funding and we raised water and sewer rates to help us get grants and loans not just to upgrade the sewage treatment plant , but also to improve water quality,” said Cheboygan City Manager. Tom Eustice. “But this is the first step. We first want to use this use of funds to improve the treatment plant.”

Eustice said engineering consultants Hubbell, Roth and Clark did a significant amount of work on the improvement plans, helping to try to secure funding.

The city’s wastewater treatment plant is definitely aging since it is over 40 years old. It was originally built in 1946. It was modified in 1975 and 1998 and needs the necessary improvements as soon as possible.

Trevor Wagenmaker and Maria Corona of Hubbell, Roth and Clark presented the planned plant upgrades at the July 14 city council meeting. This presentation can be viewed on the City’s website.

The public hearing was held on July 14 to allow the public to provide input on plans to update the city’s aging sewage treatment plant.

The current plant takes all sewage and sewage from homes and commercial buildings in both the town of Cheboygan and the township of Inverness, where the particles are removed and settled, the water is purified and then dumped in the river.

The goal of the facility upgrade is to bring it more into compliance with its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, improve infrastructure so that equipment does not break down, and remedy the inefficient solids removal system.

“The real serious problem is the aging infrastructure, so it needs to be tackled and improved very soon,” Corona said.

If the city did nothing and carried on as things are, there would be continued deterioration of equipment, tougher times meeting discharge permit requirements, surface water quality concerns, and potential risks. for the safety of workers and plant operators.

Another option would be to decommission the current sewage treatment plant and pipe all sewage and sewage from the city and township of Inverness to the nearest plant, which is at Alpena . It will require over 80 miles of mainline force, as well as a huge amount of power to pump the waste the distance through multiple pump stations. It takes time and energy, as well as money.

The plan proposed by Hubbell, Roth and Clark that would work best for everyone is to rehabilitate the existing plant, located at the north end of Huron Street. A new oxidation tank will also be installed, which will be a new facility, just outside the existing plant footprint.

The work to be carried out on the existing plant consists of repairing or replacing the existing final clarifiers. One of them is currently not functional and remains empty. The chlorine contact tank, which was built in the 1940s, will also be converted to an ultraviolet disinfection treatment tank, eliminating the need for chemicals.

The existing electrical equipment and water system tanks are also very outdated and deteriorated. It is very difficult to get parts to repair these systems, so they will be fully upgraded. The rotating biological contractors, four out of eight of which are not currently operational, which help clean up solid waste from sewage, will also be upgraded with newer and better technology. The raw sewage pumping systems will also be repaired.

“Almost every process in the plant right now, due to the aging state, is failing or has failed,” Wagenmaker said. “So he’s in bad shape.”

It is also proposed to build a new final settling tank, an oxidation ditch to replace the biological compactors, pumping stations, sludge mixing tanks, a sludge building, an ultraviolet disinfection system, among several other improvements. . The remaining final settling tanks will be refurbished, along with several other major areas of the treatment plant being upgraded, including administrative facilities and laboratories being upgraded.

All upgrades will use significantly newer technology and equipment, making everything much more energy efficient and less expensive. This will also help the city meet permit requirements for the discharge of treated wastewater. Replacing faulty equipment will also make the plant more reliable in operation. The life of equipment on new work is expected to be 20-40 years before further upgrades are required.

The overall cost estimate to complete all necessary work at the plant is $16 million. This cost will be paid into the state revolving fund for a request for funding, with the request to be scored and possibly funded.

The loan would be a 20 year loan. The city can receive loan forgiveness through a grant. If so, the increased cost to system users will be approximately $12.53 per month to help pay off the loan. If the city cannot obtain the loan forgiveness grant, the increase for users would be approximately $17.90 per month. Representatives for Hubbell, Roth and Clark said there might not be an increase in customer numbers, depending on the amount of usage by average customers.

With the factory renovations, there will be an increase in jobs in the area, as well as people using amenities around town. However, there will also be an increase in dust, noise and traffic during construction.

“But it would still be minimal disruption,” Corona said.

Construction is expected to begin in June 2021, with an expected completion date of December 2022.

During the public comment portion of the public hearing, several town residents expressed their support for the project. Sharen Lange, owner of the Cheboygan business and president of the Cheboygan Economic Development Corporation, expressed support for the project, saying it seems very urgent for the present and essential for future growth.

City council members voted unanimously to pass a resolution, endorsing the plan and asking the state for funds to rehabilitate the sewage treatment plant.

Much of the plant's equipment is aging, breaking down and becoming expensive to repair.  The city recently approved plans by engineering consultants Hubbell, Roth and Clark that include about $16 million in repairs, making the plant more efficient and profitable.  Photo by Kortny Hahn

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