City of Portland to Receive 3 Million Dollars for Its Wastewater System
The City of Portland will receive 3 million dollars for improvements to its Wastewater Treatment Plant and Collection System through an appropriation request that was approved by the Michigan Legislature. At the direction of City Council, Portland City Manager, Tutt Gorman and his team collaborated with State Representative, Gina Johnsen and Senator, Rick Outman to pursue this critical funding. The City of Portland’s Wastewater System Improvement Project (the “Project”) began construction in Spring of 2023. The Project’s scope of work initially included improvements to the wastewater treatment facilities, as well as the collection system. Unfortunately, due to rising costs and supply chain issues, the collection system repairs and some wastewater treatment plant items had to be removed from the Project in order to not exceed the City’s bond ceiling of 13 million dollars. These repairs are critical to protect the public health and the environment.
Portland Mayor James Barnes stated, “This is incredible news that will result in significant savings to the Portland residents while protecting public health and the environment. Once again, City Manager Gorman’s tenacity and commitment to our community has produced tangible results that will benefit our residents for years to come. Many thanks to Representative Johnsen and Senator Outman for their advocacy and partnership.”
The areas selected for repair were based on the proximity to the rivers and the severity of the defects. Cracks and other structural defects in the pipes allow clean water to infiltrate the system that can overwhelm the treatment plant and potentially cause an overflow of untreated or partially treated wastewater, which was the case during the 2019 Ice Jam and State of Emergency. Notably, the City’s river crossing under the Grand River was evaluated several years ago and found to have defects that must be addressed.
City Manager Gorman stated, “Infrastructure, especially critical infrastructure is everything and our residents have already endured significant rate increases to pay for the improvements currently under construction. With the knowledge that the legislature had significant funds to allocate through the appropriations process, we felt that it was only prudent to aggressively pursue funding for critical infrastructure, nothing is more important for local government.”
The collection system repairs and other improvements to the wastewater treatment plant have been approved by EGLE and therefore, would be reinstated to the original project currently under construction with the same schedule and timeline. It is anticipated that these additional improvements may be completed within a year of receiving funds.