STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – A top priority for fixing Macomb County’s infrastructure is happening below the surface.
The $28 million Macomb Interceptor rehabilitation project includes installing a giant pipe along 15 Mile Road in Sterling Heights to prevent disasters such as the Fraser sinkhole that opened in late 2016.
Candice Miller, Macomb County public works commissioner, said the sinkhole of Christmas Eve 2016 in Fraser cannot happen again but almost did when she got cameras into miles of old sewer lines.
“We don’t want that to happen again ever,” said Miller said. “It’s horrifying, the condition of our underground infrastructure.”
Old lines had been eaten away over time. What many didn’t realize was that more sinkholes could have followed in critical areas of the county.
“We found some under the Clinton River. Can you imagine having an interceptor collapse under the Clinton River? What kind of environmental catastrophe that would be. We found some under the transmission gird,” Miller said.
Today, there’s major progress on a large dig that is a big deal. First is for crews to dig down 60 feet then reach and cut into a massive 11-foot pipe called the interceptor to clear it out. It’s where everything goes when 600,000 residents in 11 communities flush.
After the clean out, it will be lined with polymer that cannot be eaten away.
“Just because under infrastructure is out of sight, it cannot be out of mind,” Miller said.
Officials said sewer rates were not raised to fund the project. A lot of the money comes from the county after it sued contractors for the Fraser sinkhole.
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