Sanitary Sewer Condition Assessment Results Are Encouraging

October 10, 2016

Many of Prein&Newhof’s professionals have been looking inside buried sewer pipes—hundreds of miles of them. It’s not glamourous, but this is how we help communities manage their systems more cost–effectively. Using Stormwater and Wastewater (SAW) Grants from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) since 2013, P&N has inspected and rated the condition of about 8 million feet, or 1500 miles, of sanitary sewer pipes in Michigan communities ranging in population from 2,000 to 40,000 people. If it were necessary, the estimated total replacement value of these buried pipes would be $1.92 billion.

What is SAW?

Sonya Butler, a supervisor at MDEQ and SAW Program Manager, is in charge of administering the SAW program for over 470 communities throughout the state. “In 2013, the State of Michigan allocated $450,000,000 to help communities evaluate their stormwater and wastewater (SAW) systems. SAW Grants of up to $2,000,000 per community were available, and hundreds of cities, villages, townships, and municipal organizations across Michigan are using SAW money to set up infrastructure asset management plans and to develop project plans, designs, and innovative projects. One benefit of an asset management plan is to ensure that the user rates charged are sufficient to operate and maintain the stormwater and wastewater systems,” Butler explains.

Our Findings So Far

Prein&Newhof is helping dozens of communities develop asset management plans through the SAW program. P&N SAW Program Manager Brian Vilmont notes, “We are wrapping up our analysis of the inspection data on over 1,500 miles of sewer pipes from several communities that received the first rounds of SAW Grants in 2014. The results were encouraging. Over 50% of the sanitary pipes inspected are in good condition, and less than 5% need immediate attention. However, conditions are always changing and we need to plan for future replacements.”

“Kudos to the leadership and public works staff of these communities for keeping their buried assets in good shape,” Vilmont continued, “While they need to fix a small percentage of their pipes, the asset management plans developed through the SAW program will help them make better long-term decisions and manage their rates.”

Preliminary Estimates

Among the first group of communities that Prein&Newhof analyzed, the total cost to fix the poor and failing pipes is estimated at $96 million over the next ten years. To make the repairs, households in these communities will need to pay, on average, approximately $5–15 more per month on their sewer bills. P&N will continue to update these numbers as it accumulates data from additional SAW Grant recipients.

 

*Graph: The percentages of sanitary sewer pipes that fall under each condition rating for Prein&Newhof’s SAW Round 1 grant recipients.


Recent

View More

P&N mourns the loss of Ed Prein, Co-Founder

We are saddened by the recent death of Prein&Newhof co-founder, H. Edward Prein. Our thoughts and prayers go to the Prein family during this time. Ed will be remembered for his vision, wisdom, strong technical skills, and committed service to our clients, all of which helped to grow our business. In 1969, Ed Prein, PE, PS and Tom Newhof, PE established Prein&Newhof, a […]

Learn More >

USDA-RD funding options available for water projects

The United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development has several programs to assist businesses and municipalities with infrastructure issues in rural areas. The USDA–RD Michigan office recently announced that they have additional appropriation from the federal office for its Water and Waste Disposal Grant and Low Interest Loan Program. This program provides funding for clean and reliable drinking […]

Learn More >

MDNR offering $3.6M in grants to fight Invasive Species

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is now accepting proposals for projects that will help prevent and control invasive species. Through the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program (MISGP), $3.6 million is expected to be available to applicants in 2018. The program is part of a statewide initiative to prevent and control species that can cause […]

Learn More >

Cherry Capital Airport Receives MDOT-AERO Award

Congratulations to the Northwestern Regional Airport Commission at Cherry Capital Airport (TVC) in Traverse City on its recognition as Airport of the Year by MDOT–AERO (Michigan Department of Transportation–Aeronautics) for its outstanding efforts associated with the rehabilitation and extension of Runway 10/28. Prein&Newhof’s airport team worked for 10+ years with TVC staff, the Northwestern Regional Airport Commission, […]

Learn More >