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E-M:/ Inter Watershed Sewage Transport

Title: Inter Watershed Sewage Transport

I've been studying Township government for nearly a year now and have even become a candidate for Supervisor in Sylvan Township. Sylvan Township lies southwest of Chelsea in western Washtenaw County. A majority of Sylvan Township voters live in the Village and are much more concerned about the Village Council than they are about the Township Board. Election campaigning is a story in itself, but the issue I need help on from this group is wastewater treatment.

The Township feels that zoning forces it to have every thing some where, urban service area, commercial, industrial, residential, agricultural, etc. They feel that they need to ring the Village with high density residential to prevent the Village form expanding into the Township. In the last few months developers have asked for zoning changes to accommodate 800 single and multifamily residential units, a 350-unit mobile home park and some commercial and industrial development.

Last night the Township held a public hearing on the creation of a special assessment district for the construction of a sanitary sewer system at an estimated cost of $4,000,000. What I find most objectionable about this plan is that nearly half of the $4M is for five miles of pipe to get the treated effluent over to the Grand River Watershed near the Jackson County line. The Huron River watershed is limited by phosphorus so the Township can save money by discharging into the Grand River watershed. I'm uncomfortable with shuttling our garbage around until the whole word is equally polluted.

I've notified the Jackson County Drain Commissioner, the Grand River Environmental Action Team (GREAT), the Huron River Watershed Council and if this message doesn't, will raise the issue with Janis Bobrin the Washtenaw County Drain Commissioner. 

The list of "It's not nice to pee in your neighbors back yard" type objections is starting to grow. They don't stand up to greed very well, so as always I'm looking for a way to get Grand Rapids to sue Sylvan Township for damaging the Grand River. Some obscure statue the make it illegal to transport minor amounts of sewage across county lines for olfactory purposes would also be good.

If all else fails it's the old referendum or public outcry strategy.

David Brooks
(734) 475-9851