Saturday, August 29, 2009

Genesee County Withdrawal Permit Approved

On August 28, 2009, the MDEQ approved Genesee County's request to withdraw upwards of 85 million gallons per day from Lake Huron.

With an approved water withdrawal permit in hand, Genesee County can proceed with its announced plans to construct a new pipeline and water treatment plant under the auspices of the newly-formed "Karegnondi Water Authority." Approval of the withdrawal permit, may also spell doom for DWSD's Flint Loop project, which is designed to extend the DWSD system into Genesee County.

Commentary: On the other hand, having a permit in hand gives Genesee County increased bargaining leverage should it be interested in resuming talks with DWSD over sharing the cost of the Flint Loop. It appears that those discussions were active until about March (as reported here), when Genesee County submitted its water withdrawal permit application.

Right now, it will be 3-5 years of subsurface investigation, design, and construction before Genesee County will see a single gallon of water. Meanwhile, DWSD's Flint Loop project is already to proceed -- the design is complete, and a construction management contract (CS-1492) is already in place. Moreover, DWSD already has water treatment plant (Lake Huron WTP), with a current capacity of 400 million gallons per day, that was designed for expansion, and can accommodate increased water demands in excess of 1 billion gallons per day with additional pumps.

Does Genesee County really think it will save money by spending an estimated $600 million on a separate pipeline, water treatment plant, and related water transmission and distribution infrastructure? Really?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Detroit City Council Approves Sale of Oakland-Macomb Interceptor

Earlier today, the Detroit City Council approved the transfer of the Oakland-Macomb Interceptor (OMI) the Oakland-Macomb County Drainage District. The vote was 5-2 in favor of the transfer, which is part of a larger settlement reached last December between DWSD and its suburban customers.

The OMI requires approximately $125 million in emergency repairs, according to DWSD Interim Director, Pamela Turner, although other estimates have put the price tag as high as $160 million.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

City of Lapeer Agrees to Back New Water Authority

On August 17, 2009, the Lapeer City Commission approved a resolution supporting formation of a new water authority. Approval of the resolution does not commit the City of Lapeer financially to any of the proposed $600 million cost of a new system. The resolution simply gives the City Manager authority to participate in discussions with Genesee County about the proposed Karegnondi Water Authority.