OKEMOS–Meridian residents came out March 20 to oppose a proposed sewer system in their community. Greenwood subdivision residents, who would be affected by the proposal, spoke about why it would complicate their lives. As a result, the plan was shelved by the township board
The issue began in January, when one Greenwood subdivision resident, who had a failed septic system, asked to be hooked into the city sewer system. Septic tanks were the norm in the area and this request prompted an examination by the township.
The township found two options for hooking up the neighborhood with city sewers.
Option one was to have a deep sewer put in which Ray Severy, director of public works and engineering, said had been done in similar township neighborhoods. This would cost approximately $530,000, costing each resident around $10,000. Severy said this failed to account for additional fees associated with hooking into the main sewer and inspections.
The other plan was for a shallow sewer system, which would cost $420,000, but had expenses associated with pumps which would need to be installed and maintained by residents. In the end the deep sewer method was recommended.
Severy emphasized the importance of the project, saying that 30 homes could have potentially failing septic systems in the near future. This number depended heavily on how well the residents maintained their systems.
Greenwood residents opposed the proposal for a variety of reasons. Subdivision resident Andrew Klose said that the township’s notices were unclear.
“The information that was provided by the township to my neighbors when they requested it was very vague and they (the residents) seemed to do orders of magnitude more homework than anyone at the township about this project.”
Dennis Conlin, who was speaking at the second township meeting in a row on this issue, said that most Greenwood residents didn’t want this new system.
“None of us should have to be here again this evening. None of us should have to tell you again this whole sewer project you are attempting to force on us is as noisome as the stuff it is meant to carry.”
Other residents brought up key issues with the proposal including the cost, the fact that little or no health risks could be found from the septic tanks in the area and that residents had maintained their systems.
After the discussion, the board concluded that the project wasn’t worth pursuing.
Township Treasurer Julie Brixie said that the project was being looked at in light of a few residents requesting information on costs of having city sewer, and that the township was merely looking into the issue at their requests.
In the end, Brixie said, “The benefit to the town is outweighed by the cost of the project.”