Tuesday, September 27, 2022

East Lansing to improve drinking water infrastructure with $2 million from EGLE

August 11, 2022
Inside the Campus Water System Filtration Plant on Aug. 31, 2020.
Inside the Campus Water System Filtration Plant on Aug. 31, 2020. —
Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

The City of East Lansing was recently selected to receive a $2 million grant that will help the city improve its drinking water infrastructure.

The grant, awarded to the East Lansing - Meridian Water and Sewer Authority, will help pay for a $9.1 million project that will improve East Lansing’s water infrastructure in two ways: through the replacement of a water main on Okemos Road, and through the implementation of a closed cycle filtration system.

“We have a lot of animals on this site, and all that could wash into that surface water lagoon,” Dugan said. “The purpose of the backwash reclaim system is instead of taking that backwash water to an open lagoon, which is subject to environmental contaminants, is to put it into a closed cycle system, a sealed tank basically.”

Consumers won’t notice a change in their water—the project is just meant to provide additional protection.

Dugan said around $6 million of the project will go towards the implementation of this closed system. The project is anticipated to be completed by June 2023.

The grant money, awarded by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, is part of a $35 million sum referred to as the Drinking Water Infrastructure, or DWI, grant program. These grants were allocated to 28 water infrastructure projects in the state of Michigan. This money is part of the $500 million Michigan Clean Water Plan, which was passed in 2020 to help local municipalities upgrade drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. 

“To be eligible for those DWI grants … you had to have a successful project plan submitted to the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund,” EGLE Water Infrastructure Financing Section Unit Supervisor Eric Pocan said.

The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund or DWSRF is a partnership between the states and the Environmental Protection Agency that offers communities low-interest loans to upgrade drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. 

“Pretty much every community that was in the queue for our program had a chance to get some of those dollars,” Pocan said.

Grant recipients were awarded the lesser of $2 million or 30% of the project’s cost.

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