Grant Township using backup; failed lagoon won’t be repaired until next year

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette The primary lagoon at Grant Township’s wastewater facility sits empty, waiting for repairs after its PVC liner developed a leak earlier this year.

COPPER HARBOR — Construction on the primary lagoon of Grant Township’s wastewater treatment facility, which failed earlier this year, is planned for next June, according to Zane Hyrkas, project engineer with OHM Advisors of Hancock.

Meanwhile, modifications to the secondary lagoon have been completed, which is the only lagoon the township is currently using.

“Another compartment has been added, with a curtain,” Supervisor Ken Stigers said at the regular meeting Tuesday, “and a lot more aeration was added to that lagoon.”

Aeration provides oxygen needed by bacteria to allow rapid respiration in the treatment process. Without the presence of sufficient oxygen, bacteria are not able to biodegrade the incoming organic matter quickly.

Stigers said because the liner in the primary lagoon suffered a failure, the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality is requiring the linings of both lagoons be replaced, he said, because both lagoons were built at the same time. The cost of the project is estimated at $1.5 million for both lagoons, Stigers said.

The DEQ also said that there must be an emergency plan in place in case the secondary lagoon fails while the primary lagoon is being repaired.

“In order to do that, we need to identify where we could put in a liner repair, or patch, or fix it, if something happened to the secondary lagoon,” Hyrkas said. “So, Charles Young was up here last week doing inspections. He is currently working on analyzing the …spectrums and we’re expecting to hear from him next week.”

The money for the project will come from State Revolving Funds and Water Infrastructure Financing (SRF) loan, which is a low-interest loan.

While the $1.5 million loan is necessary, the concern Stigers has is how a loan that size will be paid back, considering only 120 customers use the wastewater facility.