Stabenow: $10 million in federal money will jumpstart SE Michigan water projects
More than $10 million in federal money will help jumpstart some major water infrastructure projects in southeast Michigan, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow announced Friday.
The money comes from the annual Congressional appropriations bill. It will go toward kickstarting some major upgrades to water and sewer projects in Detroit, Macomb County, Pontiac, and St. Clair County.
The Great Lakes Water Authority will receive some of the money. The southeast Michigan water utility will use it to upgrade the Detroit River interceptor, where most of the region’s wastewater is discharged from the sewage facility in southwest Detroit.
GLWA interim director Suzanne Coffey said that pipe is over 100 years old, and “the backbone of the regional water system.” She said the upgrades will both protect water quality and prevent the type of sewer backups and basement flooding that hit some Metro Detroit communities last summer.
“That big underground network of pipes — it doesn't matter that pipe’s in one community or another, we all rely on that pipe,” Coffey said. “Many communities rely on that pipe, so this is a great project, and we're so happy to have funding for it.”
The city of Pontiac will also get money to remove and replace 8,000 lead service lines, said Pontiac Mayor Tim Greimel.
“This funding for Pontiac will enable us to replace lead service lines in the city as quickly as possible, so that we don't have another tragedy like we saw in Flint,” Greimel said. "And it will allow us to do so in a way that minimizes the impact on ratepayers in the city, so that we can ensure affordability for our residents and for ratepayers.”
Other projects getting funding include a pumping station upgrade in St. Clair Shores, and the City of Saint Clair’s water treatment plant.
Stabenow explicitly rejected the idea this funding is merely a “band-aid.” She noted that Lansing has yet to allocate Michigan’s share of the recent federal infrastructure bill, and that these dollars are an important start. “We have very robust funding in the infrastructure bill that has passed, and that will be available in a number of ways as well,” she said. “And so these are dollars to really get these [projects] going.”
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