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Approval for change of sewage to drain system

By Lisa Brody

Bloomfield Township trustees unanimously approved the Section 471 Chapter 20 Agreement to convert the Evergreen-Farmington Sewage Disposal System (EFSDS) to the Evergreen-Farmington Sanitary Drain (EFDS) as a Chapter 20 Drain, and to have Oakland County bond out Bloomfield Township's share, estimated at just under $7 million, at their meeting on Monday, July 26.

Olivia Olsztyn-Budryn, township director of engineering and environmental services, explained that starting in 1958, the Evergreen Interceptor was constructed to serve Bloomfield Township and other communities in Oakland County for sanitary sewage transport and disposal. “Over the years the Evergreen Interceptor was expanded to serve additional areas of the township and other communities and became the Evergreen-Farmington Sewage Disposal System (EFSDS). The township has expanded its sanitary sewer system using the EFSDS interceptor sewers as the outlet for the township sewer system. In 1988, the township entered into EFSDS Intermunicipal Contract known as the 'Act 342 Agreement' that expires in 2029, and designated Oakland County to manage the EFSDS system,” she said.

“The township owns over 200 miles of separate sanitary community sewers that discharge into the EFSDS,” she said, “and EFSDS discharges to GLWA (Great Lakes Water Authority) for treatment at various treatment plants.

“Due to excessive flows and sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) throughout the EFSDS and communities discharging to the EFSDS, Oakland County as well as Bloomfield Township, were required to agree to a plan to eliminate sources of inflow and infiltration (I/I) and eliminate basement backups and SSOs and meet the township’s outlet capacity,” Olsztyn-Budry said. “Since 1988, the township has been under administrative orders by the state to address excessive flows in the township’s sanitary sewer. Likewise, EFSDS and all the other communities have also been under administrative orders to eliminate inflow and infiltration and eliminate basement backups and SSOs.”

She said the township has worked collaboratively with the Oakland County Water Resource Commissioner’s Office (WRC) and other EFSDS communities to address the corrective actions required for the EFSDS under the administrative orders. Continuing with the regional approach, evaluation and design of the second phase of projects proceeded. The Phase II projects were renamed the Corrective Action Plan (CAP) and are required to be completed by November 2022, which are estimated to cost Bloomfield Township $6,935,580 of a total $72.7 million.

Olsztyn-Budry explained that to accomplish this, two EFSDS communities, Southfield and West Bloomfield, petitioned the county to convert the EDSDS to a Chapter 20 Drain. The system will now be known as the Evergreen Farmington Sanitary Drain, which requires all of the communities to execute a 471 agreement. The county will still operate and maintain the drain.

“All drain boards are operated by three elected officials, at open to the public scheduled meetings,” she said. “The county has been very forthcoming with their regularly scheduled meetings. This opens them to public meetings.”

It is also expected to increase community capacity.

Trustee Michael Schostak asked if there was a benefit to having the county bond the township's portion of the CAP project costs, or could the township bond it themselves. Treasurer Brian Kepes explained while the township has a Triple-A rating, “There are economies of scale, so we get the best rate, but they just have the volume.”

Trustee Neal Barnett noted, “We're not going to serve our residents if we don't keep investing in our infrastructure.”


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