Lansing, MI - Reducing sewage overflows into Lake St. Clair and replacing hazardous lead drinking water service lines in multiple communities are some of the goals of more than $67 million in state grants recently awarded to Michigan communities.
The MI Clean Water Plan grants through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) and support from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) aim to help communities upgrade aging infrastructure, ensure healthy drinking water, and protect Michigan’s environment.
Seventy percent of Michiganders are served by more than 1,000 community wastewater systems and a similar percentage get drinking water from community water systems. Those systems often struggle to find resources to address legacy issues like aging drinking water and stormwater facilities and emerging challenges like new standards for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) “forever chemicals.”
Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the Michigan Legislature, and federal agencies have ramped up funding for aging water infrastructure – a critical move to help ensure those water systems continue to protect public health and the environment, including Michigan’s unmatched freshwater resources.
More than half of EGLE’s budget has traditionally passed through to Michigan cities, towns, villages, and other local government agencies to finance critical improvements that help them better protect residents and our natural resources.
Recent grants through the DWSRF:
- City of West Branch for $18,000,000: This project includes the replacement of old, undersized, and failing watermains, watermain looping, construction of a new water tower, improvements to an existing well, and the replacement of a master meter connection in the City of West Branch.
- Detroit Water and Sewerage Department for $17,510,000: This project includes replacing and rehabilitating approximately 31,912 linear feet of vintage cast iron water main of pipe size 6-inches through 12-inches in diameter in the City of Detroit. Neighborhoods included in this project are Dexter-Linwood, Davison, and Buffalo-Charles. Approximately 475 lead service lines will be replaced as a part of the project.
- City of White Cloud for $4,065,000: This project includes the verification of approximately 200 service line materials and the removal and replacement of an estimated 420 lead and galvanized service lines throughout the City of White Cloud.
Earmarks through Federal American Rescue Plan Act:
- City of Lincoln Park for $2,500,000: This project involves the replacement of approximately 300 lead water service lines in the City of Lincoln Park. All lead service lines will be replaced with copper.
- Delta Charter Township for $10,000,000. This project will construct a parallel force main from the West Willow Lift Station in the West Willow Sewer district in Delta Charter Township. Additionally, the project will include improvements to the West Willow Lift Station to accommodate the additional force main. The project will increase capacity in the sewer district and provide needed reliability.
- City of Hamtramck for $10,000,000: This project involves watermain and lead service line replacement in the City of Hamtramck. A total of 10,825 linear feet of watermain will be replaced in Hamtramck including 252 lead service lines. Additionally, approximately 284 lead service lines will be replaced throughout Hamtramck’s distribution system.
- Macomb County for $5,000,000: This grant will be specifically used for the construction of approximately 3,571 linear feet of 60-inch sewer main. This sewer interceptor project will reduce combined sewer overflows into Lake St. Clair by conveying combined sewage to the Chapaton Retention Basin for additional system storage during wet weather events. This will also reduce combined sewer overflows from the Chapaton and Martin Retention Treatment Basins into Lake St. Clair.
Descriptions of funding sources
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund: Low-interest loan program to help public water systems finance the costs of replacement and repair of drinking water infrastructure to protect public health and achieve or maintain compliance with federal Safe Drinking Water Act requirements. The DWSRF provides loans to water systems for eligible infrastructure projects. As water systems repay their loans, the repayments and interest flow back into the DWSRF to support new loans. ARPA funding operates as a grant and may be used in combination with loan dollars to reduce the financial burden on communities to pay for capital improvement debt. ARPA funded grants awarded this fiscal year: $218,398,719.
Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF): Used by local municipalities to finance construction of water pollution control projects. These projects include wastewater treatment plant upgrades and expansions, combined or sanitary sewer overflow abatement, new sewers designed to reduce existing sources of pollution, and other publicly owned wastewater treatment efforts that improve water quality. The CWSRF can also finance stormwater infrastructure projects to reduce nonpoint sources of water pollution caused by things like agricultural runoff to lakes, streams, and wetlands. As with the DWSRF, ARPA funds can be used in conjunction with CWSRF loan dollars, thereby reducing the debt communities pay for infrastructure improvements. ARPA-funded grants awarded this fiscal year: $137,982,009.
Drinking Water Asset Management Program: Provides grant funding to assist drinking water suppliers with asset management plan development and updates, and/or distribution system materials inventories as defined in Michigan’s revised Lead and Copper Rule. Awarded this fiscal year: $19,695,817.
Consolidation and Contamination Risk Reduction Program: Established to aid drinking water systems to help remove or reduce PFAS or other contaminants. Awarded this fiscal year: $20,336,215.
Substantial Public Health Risk Project Program: Protects public and environmental health by removing direct and continuous discharges of wastewater from surface or groundwater. Awarded this fiscal year: $8,000,000.
- Since January 2019 the State of Michigan has invested over $4 billion to upgrade drinking water, stormwater, and wastewater facilities across the state, supporting over 57,000 jobs.
- In 2022, Governor Whitmer signed a package of bills to help communities access funding for water infrastructure.