Great Lakes Environmental Directory Great Lakes Great Lakes environment Great Lakes grants exotic species water pollution water export drilling environment Great Lakes pollution Superior Michigan Huron Erie Ontario ecology Great Lakes issues wetlands Great Lakes wetlands Great Lakes Great Lakes environment Great Lakes watershed water quality exotic species Great Lakes grants water pollution water export oil gas drilling environment environmental Great Lakes pollution Lake Superior Lake Michigan Lake Huron Lake Erie Lake Ontario Great Lakes ecology Great Lakes issues Great Lakes wetlands Great Lakes Resources Great Lakes activist Great Lakes environmental organizations Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat air pollution alien species threatened rare endangered species ecological Great Lakes information Success Stories Great Lakes Directory Home/News Great Lakes Calendar Great Lakes jobs/volunteering Search Great Lakes Organizations Take Action! Contact Us Resources/Links Great Lakes Issues Great Lakes News Article About Us Networking Services

Great Lakes Article:

New water authority ready to go
Kurt Hauglie
The Huron Daily Tribune

BAD AXE - After almost eight months of working alone, the city and the Village of Port Austin are once again partners in an effort to bring treated Lake Huron water to both communities as a result of the city council voting unanimously Monday to join the village in a new water authority.

Council accepted the articles of incorporation for the Huron Regional Water Authority, which will have two members from each community on its board of directors.

Terrence Donnelly, attorney with the Detroit-based law firm of Dickinson Wright and legal advisor for the city on water issues, told council the new articles of incorporation are similar to the document which established the previous Port Austin/Bad Axe Regional Water Authority (which included Port Austin Township) except that only the village and the city are members now and each community has two members each instead of one.

"In order to have a quorum, all four members would have to be present and all four members would have to agree (on any issue)," Donnelly said.

In March, the village council voted to pull out of the authority saying they didn't think the village's interests were best served by membership. The original authority, which is now just the city and the township, must be dissolved and Donnelly said that process has begun.

In October, the city and village councils accepted a memorandum of understanding about establishing a new authority. The memorandum states that the city and village would share costs for construction of a water treatment plant to be built on village property on Spring Street. The plant is expected to cost about $9 million, and the city's portion would be $6 million. All future capitol and operation and maintenance costs for the plant would be shared by the city and village based on usage.

The village's current lake water intake pipe would be used to bring water to the new plant. There is about $900,000 in debt remaining on the pipe, and if the village is unable to refinance it, the city would help pay the debt based on usage.

The new authority will be involved with production of treated water only, Donnelly said. It will establish the price for treated water sold to the two governments, who then will determine individually how much to charge customers.

The village's service area will be the village and the areas to the east and west along the lake, Donnelly said. The city's service area will be the city and south from the village limits along the M-53 corridor. Each community can make deals individually with other communities to sell water, but in order for any other community to join the authority, both members have to agree. In order to join the authority, a community must take on the financial obligation of establishing an infrastructure to receive water and help with the authority's debt.

When he talked to city council in October, Donnelly said once the authority board starts meeting, they can apply for low interest loans from the federal Rural Development to finance construction of the treatment plant.

Councilwoman Tammy DeBoer said she was concerned about the village withdrawing from the authority again, but Donnelly said that can't happen.

"Once you have some sort of financial obligation, you can't unilaterally dissolve the authority," he said.

Now that the document establishing the water authority has been accepted by both communities, Donnelly said the authority contract, which describes its operation must be completed and should be ready to sign sometime in January.

"We're just tweaking the language, now," he said.

Mayor Jim Leonard said the contract will establish how the partners will be charged for treated water, how the treatment plant will be operated and maintained and who will operate and maintain it.

Council unanimously elected Leonard and Lou Ligrow, city department of public works director, as the city's representatives on the water authority board.

Although its contract isn't ready, Leonard said the authority board can start meeting immediately.

"We may have a meeting in December," he said.

At its first meeting, the board will probably hire an attorney and an engineering firm, both of which are required for the authority to receive federal loans, Leonard said.

City attorney John Ferris said although many plans to bring treated water to the city have been discussed during the past four years, including building a well water treatment plant, he thinks the new authority plan will be good for the city.

"I really believe this is the thing to do," he said. "Ten years from now I think we're going to say we're glad we did it."

This information is posted for nonprofit educational purposes, in accordance with U.S. Code Title 17, Chapter 1,Sec. 107 copyright laws.
For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for
purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use," you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Great Lakes environmental information

Return to Great Lakes Directory Home/ Site Map