Village considers sewer system improvements

Linda Gallagher, Contributing Writer

CENTRAL LAKE – After hearing a synopsis from Gourdie-Fraser consultant Jennifer Hodges during its monthly business meeting last week, the Central Lake Village Council agreed to review a study of the village's waste management system and consider several options for improvements.

The sanitary sewer feasibility study, which the village contracted with Gourdie-Fraser to do several months ago, showed that the present system – which was built in 1989 and serves 148 customers at the moment – is at 55 percent capacity and could be extended to another 110 customers, Hodges said.

"That would be most cost effective," Hodges said, noting that the village currently has six drain fields, but has room for another six to be added. "I did talk to the EGLE (DEQ) representative for this area and was told that Central Lake would be allowed an expansion, which is a rare exception."

However, she said, "The system is deteriorating, and there is a potential of future environmental problems," reminding the village that some portions of the system are less than 3,000 feet from the shoreline of Intermediate Lake.

"When those drain fields fail in 30 years, you might not have the option you have now," Hodges said while recommending that the village take advantage of the opportunity offered by EGLE. Expanding the present system would cost an estimated $1.4 million, she noted.

"You would not be eligible for any grants for construction, because your sewer rates are very low, but the USDA is presently offering loans at a very low interest rate. I've never seen them this low," she added.

Hodges also said that the village had two other potential options, both involving construction of a full-fledged, but much more expensive, wastewater treatment system that would serve the entire village.

Asked his opinion, DPW Supervisor Robert "Sam" Mullens said, "We need to do something. We need to really think about this one," noting that the village council had informally discussed the possibilities of making sewer system improvements for the past two years.

"It will take one to three years to get all the ducks in a row as far as funding," Hodges noted, adding that she would be available at the council's December meeting to answer any questions. "I know it's a lot to chew on."

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