As Sinkhole Costs Rise, So Will Macomb Water Bills

Photo released in Macomb County statement: macombgov.org

by ANDREW NEAL
@NealSchmeal

While the Macomb County Department of Public Works (MCDPW) is taking a leading role in the sewer repair efforts, it is ultimately the homeowners and businesses in 11 surrounding communities that will foot the bill, which recently hit an estimated $140 million.

Emergency state and federal funding could cut into the costs, but the water-sewer rate payers of Shelby Township, Utica, Macomb Township and eight other communities will be on the hook for the remainder.

Shelby Township Supervisor Rick Stathakis praised MCDPW Commissioner Candice Miller for her efforts in the wake of this emergency.

“We are very appreciative of Commissioner Miller and the great she leadership she has shown in this crisis, and we are even more appreciative for the terrific job she has done operating openly with clear lines of communication between her office and local communities that are part of the drain district. Her communication with local officials has allowed us to relay all pertinent information, such as the need for water conservation, to our residents in a timely manner and minimize the impact this situation has on our taxpayers and environment.”

The Supervisor went on to say the current focus is still on water conservation, to help avoid the potential for a second discharge into the Clinton River if the sewer gets plugged.

“While it is important to note that this sinkhole has no effect on our water supply and water quality, we can help reduce any negative impact to our environment by reducing our water usage. This is why we are asking all of our residents and businesses to conserve water in any way they can to help reduce the flow through the damaged sewer main, so as not to pose an environmental threat to the Clinton River and Lake St. Clair.”

Costs could show up on rate payer’s water bills as soon as July according to MCDPW. While the immediate effort remains on water conservation, community officials are actively planning meetings to address cost concerns.