By Miranda Chavez
Holt Journal staff writer
While most people associate the public service department with basic township building maintenance, the Delhi Charter Township Public Services department does much more.
Director of Public Services Sandra Diorka said that the department does take care of the usual public maintenance such as maintaining cemetery grounds, putting up holiday decorations and maintaining streetscapes.
Diorka said that the department runs some more unusual programs such as the recycling center and taking care of the community gardens owned by the township.
The department also sponsors programs that benefit the community like the 50/50 tree program. Diorka says this program was started to get more street trees in the township.
The program allows homeowners who would like trees planted in the streetscape in front of their homes to pay half of the cost of planting the tree, and Delhi Charter Township will cover the other half.
Diorka said the trees will be planted in the space between the street and the sidewalk, which is under the jurisdiction of the Oakland County Road Department, which must approve the tree type.
Diorka said that the street commission views street trees as liabilities because cars may run into them if they veer off the road, which is why no trees were planted when the new subdivisions in the township were initially built.
Trees provide shade which helps with cooling in the summer, they emit oxygen which improves air quality and they are aesthetically pleasing, said Diorka.
The department sponsors an open house every spring where it gives tours of the wastewater treatment plant, has prizes and drawings for kids, and has educational tents.
Diorka said at the end of the event each child is given a fish to release into the Red Cedar River as a way to promote water quality education and give children a personal way to identify with the Red Cedar.
This year’s open house will be on May 10.
“When I first came here we had nothing, there was nothing green about us,” said Diorka.
Eva Walacavage, Administrative Secretary, said, “ We opened our recycle center in 2008, so I would say around 2006 2005 we had to start thinking green, because we had to start planning.”
The improvements to the waste water plant allow it to generate heat and power from the treatment process, as well as use the byproducts for various uses.
Chief Plant Operator Jeff Ranes said that the sludge produced in the process is grade A sludge, which can be dried and used for fertilization purposes on all farmland, even on land used to produce food.
Diorka said if you would like to stay updated on all the events and programs offered by the department you can like the department’s mascot Gill the Fish’s Facebook page, as well as the township’s Facebook page.<a href="https://www.facebook.com/GILLtheFISH" title="Gill's Facebook page"
“We didn’t do it with the aim of being green, we just did it with the aim of doing the right thing,” said Diorka.