Earlier this month we were honored to have Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Agriculture Doug O’Brien join USDA Rural Development Michigan State Director James J. Turner at our Earth Day ceremony in Buena Vista Township. The township board of trustees was there and Township Supervisor Dwayne A. Parker served as our master of ceremonies.
Locally known as “BV Township,” Buena Vista is located next to Saginaw and like many rural communities, its sewer infrastructure was in a state of disrepair when they approached USDA for help.
The resulting project was initially funded as an Earth Day project in 2008 with a loan and an additional grant was awarded in 2009. Phase I resulted in the repair of more than 63,000 lineal feet of pipe and the installation of a radio reading system to monitor usage and lower personnel costs. This phase was substantially complete by May 2010.
Phase II will see continued refurbishment and rehabilitation of 45,500 linear feet of the remaining defective sewer pipe and more than 200 manholes, the construction of an off-site excess flow basin, construction of a pump station, and improvements at the wastewater treatment plant. The system will serve 2,300 residential and almost 200 commercial customers and will bring the township into compliance with environmental regulations regarding pollutant discharges.
As O’Brien pointed out during his remarks, when a rural sewer system fails, the sewage has to go somewhere. In this case, it was going into the Saginaw River and then into Saginaw Bay in Lake Huron.
He pointed out that in the past two years, USDA Rural Development has funded water and sewer projects in 117 Michigan communities serving more than 94,000 customers. Being almost entirely surrounded by the Great Lakes, Michigan residents know that a small problem upstream usually leads to much bigger problems downstream and that the impact of water pollution extends far beyond the immediate community.
This Earth Day USDA Rural Development looked back at what we were able to accomplish and ahead at the work that remains.
To find out more about USDA Rural Development water quality programs click here.