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EGLE director visits Marquette, meets with local leaders about water infrastructure investments

Area wastewater treatment plant upgraded with May 2023 loan of $12.5 million with $5.87 million principal forgiveness from EGLE’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund

Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) Director Phil Roos toured the Marquette Area Wastewater Treatment Facility to celebrate improvements enabled by a $12.5 million loan supported by EGLE’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund.  

Roos joined Marquette Mayor Sally Davis, City Manager Karen Kovacs, and city commissioners Wednesday as they recognized the investment nearly one year ago and discussed Michigan’s commitment to ensuring communities have clean, affordable drinking water and the state’s natural resources are protected. 

“EGLE’s MI Clean Water program has been essential to support projects like the upgrades to the Marquette Area Wastewater Treatment Facility,” Roos said. “By fortifying these facilities, we can ensure every family in Michigan has access to the fundamental necessity of clean and safe drinking water, safeguarding their health and our natural resources for generations to come. Investing in our wastewater treatment plants is about so much more than improving infrastructure; it’s about ensuring that local communities have the resources they need to invest in the well-being and future of our state.” 

In May 2023, the City of Marquette received a $12.5 million federal loan with $5.87 million in principal forgiveness from EGLE’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund to make upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant’s infrastructure. The project is underway and includes the construction of a new waste-receiving station, modifications to various pumping, post-aeration, and ferric chloride feed equipment, and installation of new security fencing and cameras. Built in 1979, the facility serves portions of Marquette Township and Chocolay Township, as well as the entire city of Marquette. 

Marquette’s wastewater treatment plant has the capacity to produce over 7 million gallons of water per day and treats an average of 3.2 million gallons of waste per day. In addition, the plant’s laboratory tests the water in all public swimming pools and hot tubs, including hotels and schools, as well as ensuring that the water at public beaches is safe for swimming. 

“Investments in our water infrastructure are important as we continue to position Marquette as a place where people can live, provide for their families and enjoy the beauty of the Upper Peninsula,” Mayor Davis said. “We are grateful to EGLE and the State of Michigan for these critical investments that will help us continue to provide safe drinking water, keep our residents safe and healthy, and protect our natural resources.” 

“I believe providing clean, safe drinking water is a virtue, a necessity, and a fundamental duty of every community,” said state Rep. Jenn Hill. “The crucial upgrades being made to our wastewater treatment plant, supported with this significant investment from the state, stand as another example of our ongoing work to safeguard public health and protect Michigan’s natural resources. I want to extend my sincerest gratitude to EGLE for looking out for the people of Marquette and our surrounding communities. I’m glad to see this project underway.” 

Last month, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and EGLE announced a $290 million expansion of the MI Clean Water Plan, utilizing existing bonding authority from the bipartisan, voter-approved 2002 Great Lakes Water Quality Protection Bond. This expansion will not only help communities across the state ensure safer, cleaner, and more affordable drinking water but also support over 4,300 local jobs. Additionally, in February, the Governor proposed an executive budget recommendation that included $54 million for drinking water infrastructure, over $15 million for clean water projects focused on making communities resilient to the impacts of climate change, and 19 additional full-time EGLE employees to ensure everyone’s drinking water is protected. 

Since January 2019, the State of Michigan has invested more than $4 billion under the MI Clean Water Plan and other state programs to upgrade drinking water, stormwater, and wastewater facilities across the state. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, for every $1 million invested in water infrastructure, 15 jobs are created, and studies have shown a $6 return for every dollar invested in water infrastructure. 

For more information, visit EGLE’s MI Clean Water Plan webpage.

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