Monday, September 19, 2011

Flint Urged to Break Ties with Detroit Water Department

The City of Flint is being urged to break ties with the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and join the Karegnondi Water Authority.

On September 7, 2011, officials from Genesee County and the Karegnondi Water Authority met with the Flint City Council to present a report prepared by Rowe Engineering, which compared the cost of upgrading the City of Flint's Water Treatment Plant ($61.5 million) with the cost of getting its water from the KWA (not specified). 
Analysis indicates that the cost of supplying water from the Flint River on a continuous basis will be greater than the proposed KWA Raw Water Supply Contract, but less than continued supply from Detroit. 
On September 18, 2011, an Editorial in the Flint Journal urged Flint officials to "fish or cut bait" on their decision whether to continue buying water from Detroit or join the Karegnondi Water Authority. The Flint Journal recommends that Flint support the new pipeline plan.

Additional Resources:
Comment: Maybe I'm missing something, but if the City Flint will only be buying raw water from the KWA, the City will still need to make capital upgrades to its water treatment plant. No? As things stand now, Flint's WTP is a back-up to the water it buys from DWSD. Won't Flint have to make the capital improvements outlined by Rowe Engineering to bring their water treatment plant into compliance? So that it can process the raw water it receives from the KWA pipeline? If someone knows the answer to these questions, please let me know. 

For more about DWSD Update, click here

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Committee to Plan Overhaul of DWSD Operations is Named

The Committee ordered by Judge Cox to develop a plan to overhaul the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department by November 4, 2011 (the "Root Cause Committee") will include the following members:
Update (10/12): Judge Cox entered an Order today expanding the authority of his Special Master, David M. Ottenwess, to "direct and facilitate discussions" with the parties noted above and "to report to the Court [on] the progress and status of those discussions and the proposed plan." [Dkt #2405]

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    ESD Consensus Action Report: DWSD, The Road to Compliance and Beyond

    One of the reports cited in Judge Sean Cox's September 9, 2011 Opinion and Order Denying the City of Detroit's Motion to Dismiss the 1977 EPA lawsuit was a 2010 report prepared by the Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD) Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel.  A copy of this report was filed by the Court earlier today.
    Comment:  In my view, the ESD Report and the Recommendations of the ESD Institute will be the blueprint followed by the Committee ordered by Judge Cox to devise a plan within 60 days.  For those of you with personal knowledge of the WWTP and its operation, I invite your comments as to whether you think the ESD report is accurate or off-base.   

      Friday, September 9, 2011

      Judge Cox Denies Request to End Federal Oversight of DWSD, Orders Plan for Fundamental Changes within 60 Days

      Earlier today, U. S. District Judge Sean Cox  denied without prejudice a motion filed by the City of Detroit in late July to dismiss the 34 year old federal lawsuit by the U.S. EPA.  

      Instead, Judge Cox has ordered that within 60 days, Mayor Bing, City Council President and President Pro Tem, and a current member of the Board of Water Commissioners meet and devise a plan to address the root causes of DWSD's chronic non-compliance with the Clean Water Act. 

      The parties are to submit their plan to Judge Cox at a Status Conference on November 4, 2011 at 8:30 a.m.

      As we reported here, the City of Detroit petitioned Judge Sean Cox in July to dismiss the 1977 federal lawsuit citing the Administrative Consent Order (ACO) it entered into with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on July 21, 2011.

      In Denying the City of Detroit's request to dismiss the federal lawsuit, Judge Cox noted that even after executing the ACO, "the DWSD self-reported serious violations of its NPDES permit to the DEQ." 
      Thus, the City has not established that the DWSD has achieved even short-term compliance with the ACO and the Clean Water Act. Moreover, this Court concludes that the record in this case establishes that, unless more fundamental corrective measures are taken to address the institutional and bureaucratic barriers to compliance, sustained compliance with the Clean Water Act and the ACO will simply not occur.
      In ordering that the City, City Council and Water Board devise a plan within 60 days, Judge Cox noted:
      In doing so, they shall not be constrained by any local Charter or ordinance provisions, or by the provisions of union or other contracts. If these local officials fail to devise and propose a workable solution to remedy the underlying causes of the serious and recurrent violations of the Clean Water Act in this case, the Court will directly order a more intrusive remedy.
      To read the entire text of Judge Cox's Opinion and Order, click here.

      Additional resources:

      For more about DWSD Update, click here.

      Thursday, September 8, 2011

      DWSD Belt Filter Press Replacement Project (PC-787), Bidding October 20th

      Earlier today, DWSD issued an Invitation for Bids for Contract PC-787, Replacement of Belt Filter Presses for Complex I and Upper Level Complex II.

      This is a 5 year contract, which will involve replacing 22 belt filter presses at the Detroit Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), including related belt conveyors, new screw conveyors, polymer feed systems, and related electrical and instrumentation controls.

      DWSD has projected the cost of this project in its latest CIP at $37 million.

      Update (10/11): DWSD has reportedly issued another Bulletin, although not yet posted, which puts the bid opening date back to October 20th.
      Update (9/29): Per Bulletin 1, the Bid Date for this project has been moved up a week to October 13, 2011 from October 20th

      Photo Credit:

      Friday, September 2, 2011

      Re-Bid Scheduled for Oakland Macomb Interceptor Drain Contract 3 Project

      On September 1, 2011, the Oakland-Macomb Interceptor Drain Drainage Board voted to rebid Contract 3 and established a tentative bid opening date of October 25, 2011.

      The OMID Board voted on July 26, 2011 to reject all bids received the week before.

      Bid documents should be available beginning September 16, 2011, according to a Pre-Advertisement Notice. 

      Update (9/16): Bid documents for Contract 3 were made available today. The Bid Opening is set for October 25, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. at the Office of the Oakland County WRC, Bldg 95 West, One Public Works Dr., Waterford, MI 48238-1907. 

      Thursday, September 1, 2011

      FOX 2 Detroit Questions DWSD Sludge Hauling Contract

      FOX 2 Detroit has a new story raising questions about DWSD's sludge hauling contract with Bankston Construction. This contract was let following termination of the City's contract with Synagro in 2009, and before DWSD began soliciting contracts for a new BioSolids Management Services Contract (PC-781).

      Update: The Bankston contract was approved during the February 23, 2011 Water Board Meeting.  See, Approved Meeting Minutes (here) at pp. 22-23.

      For more about DWSD Update, click here.