Two Michigan cities have been recognized for innovative water projects funded through programs designed to improve water quality and protect public health.
The Pontiac Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) and the city of Burton received national accolades from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for projects utilizing the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) respectively.
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) administers these loan programs and nominates projects it believes deserve national attention, including the Pontiac and Burton projects.
Each year the (EPA) recognizes projects that receive low interest loans through state’s CWSRF programs with a PISCES award (Performance and Innovation in the SRF Creating Environmental Success). The award recognizes projects that use CWSRF loan funding in innovative ways to improve water quality, provide public health or economic benefits, and/or encourage sustainability in the marketplace.
The Pontiac WWTP (now known as the Clinton River Water Resource Recovery Facility) project was awarded a PISCES honorable mention for its $31,995,000 CWSRF loan project to upgrade its biosolids management facility, update/replace aging equipment, and greatly improve efficiency and environmental impact by using new cutting-edge technologies. The plant will be the second in the country to utilize Thermal Hydrolysis Pretreatment (THP). That process uses methane gas created by the process to help power the activity. The THP process produces solids that are more efficiently and fully cleaned and will keep more byproduct out of landfills. The environmentally innovative process allowed the project to have $2.5 million of the loan forgiven. Work began in 2017 with anticipated completion in spring of 2020.
This year EPA added a new program to recognize projects in the state's DWSRF programs. The AQUARIUS award distinguishes DWSRF projects that have exceptional focus on sustainability and protection of public health.
The city of Burton was recognized by the AQUARIUS program for its five-year phased upgrade effort to replace 90-year-old cast iron supply lines, reduce water line breaks, and reduce water loss in the system. Loans were given starting in 2014 with the fifth awarded at the end of 2018. The creative use of phasing the projects through five consecutive DWSRF loans totaling $22 million allowed the city to spread out costs and take advantage of loan forgiveness of nearly $3 million for reducing water loss and affordability.
Additional information on the awards can be found on EPA's site: