Delhi Township set the standard last fall by winning Gold at the Michigan Green Communities conference in natural resource conservation, green economic development and energy efficiency. A year later, Delhi is continuing to maintain this status by implementing new green initiative projects and continuing past ones. From the implementation of the new Scrappy program to the annual Reuse Rally, the Department of Public Services and the Township Board members are constantly working on green initiative projects, Department of Public Services Administrative Secretary Eva Walacavage said. “Sandra Diorka [Public Services Director] is very committed and spearheads many of the green initiative projects including the Scrappy pilot program,” Walacavage said. Although the sheep are the face of green initiative projects in Delhi, the latest project to launch is the piloted Scrappy program.
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.
HOLT — Voters rejected a bond proposal that would have supported a waste-to-energy sludge dryer. The proposal was defeated 2,523-1,769, according to totals posted on the township’s website. The measure was rejected in all but two of the township’s precincts and by absentee voters. The proposal was worded: “Shall the Charter Township of Delhi, Ingham County, Michigan, borrow the sum of not to exceed Five Million One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($5,100,000) and issue its limited tax revenue
bonds therefor, for the purpose of:
“Acquiring, constructing and installing improvements to the Township’s sanitary sewer system to dewater and dry the Township’s sludge to reduce transportation and disposal costs, as well as
all other necessary and related improvements?” Precinct totals are available on the township’s site.
DELHI TOWNSHIP — The pungent smell of Delhi Township’s wastewater treatment plant spreads into the countryside. The scent of treated liquid waste is unpleasant to some. But across the past decade, township officials have began looking past what the product smells like to what it could be used for in the future. Officials began exploring the process of upgrading the township’s wastewater treatment processes in 2003, said Delhi Township Director of Public Services Sandra Diorka. The township’s efforts led to the creation of a digestion process that turns human waste into high-quality liquid sludge for disposal on farmland.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Qualityhas given the go-ahead to a portion of a Delhi Township project that would turn organic waste into biofuels. The department’s approval is one step in a process that could ultimately result in the creation of a $5.5 million sludge dryer that would allow the township to convert biosolids into alternative fuel. The department approved a portion of the project that regulates the burning of the biosolids as fuel, Township Manager John Elsinga said. A $5.1 million bond proposal that would finance part of the project is on the May 8 ballot. The referendum comes after opponents of the project collected more than the required 1,700 signatures last July to force the vote.
For Tom Cunningham, election times are the busiest times of the year. Cunningham, head custodian at Midway Elementary, says he comes to work early on election days to set up booths dropped off by the township. “It’s not the highlight of my job, but I don’t mind it,” he said. He said that for the last two elections, in November and February, the turnout at his precinct has been just over a hundred people, which is very low. Cunningham also said that for the presidential election in 2008, the turnout was amazing.
A Delhi Township project that would convert human waste into biofuels looks unlikely to move forward. Township officials are doubtful about the project’s future after Holt residents collected enough signatures to put the $5.5 million sludge dryer to a vote. Delhi Township Clerk Evan Hope said petitioners gathered the 1,700 signatures required to force a referendum on the project in early July. Regardless of the referendum’s eventual outcome, the petition drive may have effectively ended the upgrade. About $2.75 million of the project’s cost was to be covered by a grant from Michigan’s Clean Water Revolving Fund, which Delhi Township Public Services Director Sandra Diorka said makes the initiative so appealing.
The Delhi Township Board of Trustees decided at a town meeting on March 15 to approve construction of two 400-foot greenhouses that will convert human waste to fuel to generate power. The project consists of a final treatment of the township’s waste water, which will be done through a de-watering mechanism and a sludge drying process. This type of waste treatment is used in Europe. “Other areas of the world are being told that this is the way to go and this is our opportunity,” said Township Supervisor Stuart Goodrich. Goodrich explained that this project is intended to be the final step toward making the township’s treatment plant a complete circle of renewable energy.