State of Michigan Senator Peter MacGregor (pictured right) and State Representative Chris Afendoulis (pictured middle) met with key Prein&Newhof engineers and GIS professionals for 90 minutes on Monday, January 16 to review how West Michigan communities are investing their SAW (Stormwater, Asset Management, and Wastewater) grants.
MDEQ’s $450 million SAW asset management planning grant program just awarded its fourth round of recipients. SAW grants help communities find, inspect, map, and assess the condition of their buried pipe assets and treatment facilities. First round SAW grant recipients are almost done writing their asset management plans, which show the cost of owning and maintaining their wastewater and stormwater system assets over a 50–year time span. Asset management planning helps communities make better decisions for system repairs and replacements, and to develop long–term rate management policies.
“Infrastructure stability is a big deal,” said Brian Vilmont, PE, Prein&Newhof’s SAW Program Manager. “As reinforced by the Flint water crisis and the Fraser sewer sinkhole, the condition of our buried assets is a critical public health and economic issue.” Governor Snyder’s recent 21st Century Infrastructure Commission report underscores just how important clean water and a robust infrastructure is to Michigan’s future. The report estimates that Michigan needs an added investment of $4 billion a year for the next twenty years to keep our water, roads, energy, and broadband systems in sufficient working order.
Prein&Newhof engineer Jim Hegarty, PE added “We think the SAW program is an essential first step in quantifying the long–term financial challenges communities will face as our systems continue to age. It’s important to engage our legislators in this conversation, as their decisions balance our quality of life with fiscal and political pressures.”
For more information on asset management, contact Brian Vilmont, PE today at firstname.lastname@example.org or (616) 364–8491.
You can learn more about the SAW grant program here.