$43 million sewage project underway in Macomb County

Major upgrades are underway in Macomb County to keep sewage from leaking into Lake St.Clair.

The project, totaling $43 million, is going towards preventing sewage overflows and preparation for heavy rains in the future.

According to the Alliance for the Great Lakes, tens of billions of gallons of raw or poorly treated sewage ends up in our lakes.

"Literally for decades we’ve been discharging combined sewer overflows after heavy rain events," said Commissioner Candice Miller of Macomb County Public Works.

Overflows are coming from multiple places in Metro Detroit,  not just from the Chapiton pump station. This is where the canal and Retention Treatment Basin are getting an upgrade to an additional 13 million gallons of storage.

"We are creating additional storage so that after ir rains, we’re able to store it and treat it until the rain has passed and then send down to Detroit for proper treatment," Miller said.

A second project upgrades the electrical systems at the pump station including adding generators in case the lights go out, which we’ve seen all too often.

Many of these electrical components date back to 1968.

"Hubert Humphrey cut the ribbon on this thing, which was great back in the day - but unfortunately a lot of the infrastructure remains," Miller said.

The bulk of the money comes from the American Rescue Plan act.

"We’re finding little ways to reduce these combined sewer overflows year after year. So in Macomb County, we are making huge strides," said State Senate Kevin Hertel.  

Officials say the projects should also help with basement flooding.

Overflow is expected to be reduced by 38 percent and the project is expected to take two years to complete.