The Marshall County Commissioners took steps to move forward with a petition to create a Regional Sewer District during their meeting Monday. 

Ken Jones from Petrie, Jones, Rafinski, an engineering firm that has been working with the county to study areas that need to move from septic systems to a wastewater treatment facility the last few years.  Jones said they studied 15 priority service areas across the county which represents about 2,500 connections.  After studying the locations and their proximity to an existing facility along with a way to help smaller areas financially connect, he recommended the first demonstration site. This area represents about 883 possible connections.    

Jones said, “The initiating projects we selected were some of the ones that are going to be the most difficult to plan and also to afford.  They are Teagarden, Tyner and Inwood assemble as a single project with the Michigan Road service area which is adjacent to and touches and wraps around the south limits of the city of Plymouth.”   Jones said if they start now on the petition, it would be spring of 2022 before construction would get underway if approved.

The Regional Sewer District board of trustees would be 5 to 7 appointed members and have the duty to react to the users and decide if these 4 projects are appropriate in their initial stage or not. The Commissioners will appoint a member or two and the County Council would also have an appointment along with a representative from the wastewater treatment municipality. 

Commissioner Kevin Overmyer asked why they selected Tyner, Teagarden and Inwood instead of the communities on lake area between Lawrence Lake and Mill Pond where they are experiencing issues.  Overmyer said water quality and small lots is a big issue.  Jones said that’s where the Board of Directors could make a change in the initial plan.  He also noted that it would be the second largest service area in the county. Jones said there was no direct connection to a possible sewer facility so they would have to run a pipeline. 

When asked about talks with Plymouth, Jones said he spoke to the Board of Public Works and Safety last month about the plan and their discussions continue.  Jones continued, “I presented a structure for this project and how the South Michigan area would look to potentially connect with multiple other service areas.  The city is basically surrounded by areas that need their help.”  He hopes to hear back with conditions and criteria to make those connections.  In total there are about 1900 potential connections in the county that would have the ability to connect to the City of Plymouth. 

This is a $21 million project, but Jones said the market is high due to the current cost of materials needed to construct these projects right now. Jones estimated a plateau on material costs in 2022 and then a drop-off latter in the year.  He also noted that estimated monthly cost to customers should be about $80 to $90. 

Jones told the commissioners, “We think we can demonstrate the need and the impact here to the point where they (IDEM) are going to say this a project we need to get behind.”     

Commissioner Overmyer said he knows someone who purchased a lot to build on.  The health department said they had to limit the size of the house but the subdivision requires a bigger house so they purchased a lot and can’t build on it.   With this regional sewar district they would be able to build on that lot. 

The county can use some of their American Rescue Plan to help with the project, but Commissioner Stan Klotz was concerned on the timing.  Those funds must be used by the end of 2024. 

Jones said the County could use the funds for design work once the district is formed.  The good part is that those funds could be reimbursed when the project moves on with its funding.

A public hearing will be conducted prior to sending the petition on to IDEM.   

Commissioner Klotz said, “Don’t wait till you’re in a bind, get in front of the game because you know you’ve got a problem coming.” 

Commissioner Mike Burroughs motioned to begin the process to create a Regional Sewar District and Commission Klotz seconded the motion and it was unanimously passed by the commissioners.