The Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office will assume full management of the Pontiac Wastewater Treatment facility beginning July 1st as the final step in the transfer of the operation of the city’s water and sewer system from the private contractor, SUEZ, formerly known as United Water. SUEZ had been operating the system under contract since 2011.
“Management of this type of facility is part of our core work and our staff members are very familiar with the Pontiac plant,” said Jim Nash, Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner. “We believe our history in this kind of work will result in excellent and improved service for Pontiac residents and the tributary communities.”
Since the agreement between the City of Pontiac and the WRC, Oakland County has received $4 million in Stormwater, Asset Management and Wastewater grants (SAW) for assessment of the wastewater treatment and collection system. The grant has allowed the WRC to televise over 275,000 linear feet of sewer (approximately 21 percent of the system) and conduct condition assessment of more than 700 assets of the system. Additionally, the County has invested nearly $16 million in improvements to the wastewater system, utilizing more than $1.1 million in Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Green Project Reserve grants and DTE energy incentives.
“This kind of investment will improve the future reliability of the system and prevent and minimize emergency repairs that are more expensive,” Nash said.
Since the beginning of the transfer of management of the Pontiac water and sewer system, the WRC has begun other major infrastructure improvements including replacing water mains, repairing frozen water lines during winter months, and prompt restoration activities in the spring. The WRC also began a program for the replacement of all customer water meters across the city to improve accuracy and reliability. Begun last year, the contract with Vanguard Utility Service, Inc. will replace water meters inside homes and install reading devices near the meter on an outside wall. Customers are not being charged for the new meter or reading device.
The water mains being replaced are part of this infrastructure improvement. To date, an estimated 3.5 miles of water mains have been replaced on a dozen streets. The WRC is also reconstructing streets after the water main work is completed, and replacing additional water mains and street rebuilding in partnership with the City of Pontiac and the State of Michigan.
“These kinds of infrastructure repair and replacement projects are critical to the quality of life for people in this region,” Nash said. With Pontiac as the county seat government, we are pleased to make these investments in our region’s future.”