Metro Detroit Communities Among Clean Water Grant Recipients

Michigan Community NewsLansing, MI - New water mains in Ecorse, sewer line upgrades in Benton Harbor, and lead service line replacements in multiple communities are the goals of more than $91 million in state grants recently awarded to Michigan communities.

The MI Clean Water Plan grants through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF), the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF), the Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities Grant Program (EC-SDC), 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.

“Ensuring healthy drinking water and safeguarding our Great Lakes and streams is an all-hands-on-deck effort,” said Phil Roos, EGLE director. “This $91.4 million will help 20 communities accelerate critical projects like lead service line replacements and sewer system rehabilitations. Our MI Clean Water grants are examples of how EGLE and the Whitmer Administration are working to braid state, federal, and local resources to rebuild water infrastructure across the state.”

Grant roundup

Recent grants through the DWSRF: 

  • City of Ecorse for $7,575,000.  Ecorse will replace approximately 10,000 linear feet of existing watermain in areas where watermains are experiencing frequent breaks and low pressures. These replacements will occur along 2nd, 7th, 5th, 8th, Beach, and Mill Streets. Watermain will be upsized from 6-inch mains to 8-inch ductile iron mains and an existing 12-inch main will be replaced. An estimated 135 lead or galvanized service line replacements with copper services are planned concurrent with the watermain replacement projects throughout the city.
  • Charter Township of Union for $10,985,000.  This project includes the construction of a Type 1 production well, critical improvements and expansions of the Isabella Treatment Facility including expansion of the plant to accommodate a filter room equipped with one iron removal filter and a high service pump room equipped with two High Services Pumps, chemical feed, mechanical piping, and associated accessories. It is anticipated that approximately 60 lead service lines will be identified and replaced as part of the project.
  • Charter Township of Grayling for $3,612,000.  This grant provides the remaining financing needed to complete the project identified and initially funded under the EC-SDC program. Total project funding is $25,060,000.


Recent grants through the CWSRF: 

  • City of Melvindale for $4,160,000.  This project includes pump station rehabilitation, construction of a wet weather storage tank, and sanitary sewer televising in the City of Melvindale (Melvindale). Melvindale has an administrative consent order for correction of sanitary sewer overflow (SSO). Pump station rehabilitation will occur at the Greenfield Road pump station and will include pump, valve, pressure sensor, and gas monitoring system replacements as well as the addition of a one-million-gallon secondary storage tank to manage overflows during wet weather. City-wide sanitary sewer televising for the city’s asset management plan will clean and televise approximately 35,000 linear feet of Melvindale’s sewer system to help identify areas that need repair and/or lining.
  • City of Benton Harbor for $19,577,200.  This project includes the replacement/rehabilitation of gravity sanitary sewer along numerous streets throughout Benton Harbor for structural integrity and/or to eliminate sanitary sewer overflows, assorted upgrades at eight sanitary lift stations, and continued efforts related to Benton Harbor’s asset management plan (AMP), including televising gravity sewer via CCTV, and compiling data gathered into Benton Harbor’s Geographic Information System map. This work is required for Benton Harbor to comply with their Administrative Consent Order.

Additionally, 11 water systems received grants for work related to the physical verification of service lines at properties where lead is suspected but not confirmed or where service line material is unknown but likely contains lead. The process to accomplish this effort includes hydrovacing on either side of each curb stop and performing in-building investigation to document service line materials. This project includes applicable restoration to original condition of hydrovaced locations. Hydrovacing involves a piece of equipment that uses high-pressure water to cut and liquefy the soil, while simultaneously using high volume vacuum to remove the soil from the excavation.

The eleven recipients and their respective amounts:

  • City of Portland, $256,500
  • City of Caseville, $143,998
  • New Buffalo Township, $106,000
  • City of Davison, $104,951
  • Au Sable Charter Township, $107,100
  • Village of Benzonia, $84,000
  • Village of Mattawan, $87,000
  • City of Coloma, 198,000
  • City of Saugatuck, $221,600
  • Village of South Range, $187,650
  • City of Adrian, $510,000


Earmarks through Federal ARPA:

 City of Traverse City for $2,000,000.  This project includes the removal and replacement of approximately 200 lead service lines within the city.

  • Downriver Utility Wastewater Authority for $10,000,000.  This project involves replacement of the ultraviolet (UV) disinfection system that is at the end of its useful life and is no longer serviced by the manufacturer.  The existing equipment will be removed, and structural modifications will be made to the five UV channels, weirs, gates, and other ancillary components surrounding the UV system to accommodate the new equipment.
  • Genesee County Drain Commissioner Division of Water & Waste Services for $10,000,000.  This project involves the construction of digesters at the Anthony Ragnone Wastewater Treatment Plant (ARTP) located in Montrose, Michigan. The digesters will reduce the volume of biosolid waste and create renewable energy in the form of natural gas. This grant will specifically be used to construct three Combined Heat and Power (CHP) generators to produce electricity and heat that can be used at the ARTP. Biogas cleaning and conditioning equipment necessary to meet gas quality standards is also included.

Grants through ED-SDC: 

  • Charter Township of Grayling for $21,448,000.  The Grayling Army Airfield is a 923-acre area where Aqueous Firefighting Foam (AFFF) was used and stored over the last several decades. Numerous wells within Grayling Township have been found to be contaminated with PFAS above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Lifetime Health Advisory. There are five distinct areas that have been impacted or are likely to be impacted in the future, one to the east of the airfield, two to the southwest of the airfield, and two on the shores of nearby Lake Margrethe.


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: 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. 

Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities Grant Program: Provides states and territories with grants to public water systems in small or disadvantaged communities to address emerging contaminants, including PFAS. 


Additional Background

  • 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.
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