Board OKs ARPA funds for bi-county sewer proposal

By Shelby Stewart
Staff Writer
Brandon Twp.- During the regular meeting Monday night, the township board voted 6-0 to approve a resolution requesting Oakland County to allocate $55 million of its American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 funds for a project to extend sewer service from Genesee County to serve Brandon Township. Trustee Dana DePalma was absent with notice.
The project would consist of two phases, and include service to Groveland and Holly Townships as well, with the sewer lines coming down Dixie Highway from Genesee County then jutting over to M-15.
“The first phase is just to get it from Genesee County to serve Holly and Groveland and reserve capacity for Brandon and Ortonville for the future,” said Brian Coburn, chief engineer with Oakland County Water Resource Commissioner’s Office. “Second phase would then extend it so Brandon and Ortonville would have service they previously had bought capacity for down the road.”
Phase one of the project would cost an estimated $40 million, and phase two would cost $45 million.
“So it’s not a cheap project, but it’s a needed project because there are a lot of septic systems in the area that are aged, that are on the verge of failing or have failed,” said Coburn. “There’s a need generally for sewer. Septic is a temporary solution, it’s never a permanent solution.”

The resolution that was passed is only asking Oakland County for possible funding, and the township has not yet committed to being part of the project.
“There’s lots of opportunity out there, it’s just finding the right opportunity that fits the project,” said Coburn about funding possibilities, citing possible state funding as well.
The project itself could take over five years, though it depends on when funds are available.
“It could happen concurrently, if all this money falls from the sky and we fund everything, it could all happen by 2024,” he said. “But if it happens in two phases, you’re probably about 5 years out.”
In total, Oakland County will receive over $240 million as part of the American Rescue Plan of 2021, which can be used for infrastructure. The project would help support the school district as well as some of the septic surrounding lakes on M-15. It is not decided if the project would service residential areas off of M-15 yet.
“What would happen in your situation is you would probably get it to M-15 and down M-15, and what most communities would do is special assess to get it into the sub-divisions,” said Coburn.
While the township has not yet committed to the project, the resolution does state that the project is needed to serve commercial properties on M-15 as well as residential lakeshore homes to improve water quality and remove old septic systems.

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