By Kamen Kessler
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter
City of DeWitt Administrator Dan Coss held a presentation at the Nov. 9 DeWitt School Board meeting to thank the board for their support of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality grant that the city recently got approved.
The $1.5 million project is for the inspection and cleaning of all the drainage systems in the city of DeWitt, focusing more on the stormwater system rather than the sanitation one, according to Coss.
The grant is worth around $1.3 million with the city paying the other $200,000 for the project, according to Coss.
Coss said, “The stormwater system is one of the things we have the least information on in the city, and this will help us better understand everything about it.”
The schools support was vital because some of the stormwater systems are on the school grounds, so for approval of the grant, it was important to have the backing of the school board, according to Coss.
Coss said, “They passed a resolution of support backing us asking for the grant.”
DeWitt School Board President Mark Kellogg said, that they were happy to support the cause and that they were happy to hear the approval was granted to better help the city and the schools collectively.
School Board Member Craig Kahler brought up a few concerns of what the program would address. “What is going to happen if you find a system failing? Does this grant cover repairs?”
Coss said, “The grant is only for inspections, but as far as we know there should not be any situations will failing systems. If that is the case it will have to be addressed through a different program.”
The program offered by the MDEQ is the Stormwater, Asset Management, and Wastewater Program.
Grants have $2 million cap per community. First million has 10-percent local match; second million has 25-percent local match. The local match is not eligible for loan assistance, according to Michigan.gov.
Jonathan Archer, Construction and Collection System Supervisor, at the Southern Clinton County Municipal Utilities Authority said, “The way we intend to use the program is for asset management.”
Archer said, “The focus is mostly on stormwater systems rather than sanitary, because we already know a little bit about those. But the overall goal here is to be proactive in having a system of quality checking, rather than being reactive when or if an issue arises.”
Recently, there have been some issues around the country where stormwater systems have had a catastrophic failure, which can cause floods and overflows in places, or even deteriorate roads if not handled properly, according to Archer.
The asset management taking place will first be the mapping of the systems in the City of DeWitt though use of cameras from private contractors on the project. Next, will be determining and mapping the flow directions to better understand which catch basins are under the most pressure during storms. Finally, they will look to uncover some catch basins that have been covered in leaves and soil, according to Coss.
Archer said, “The city wants to have a system is place that kind of works like a regular check up schedule, and this is the first step in doing that, by finding out all the information to help us through asset management.”