Changes to Macomb County Public Works to help prevent sewage from entering Lake St. Clair

The Chapaton canal that leads to Lake St. Clair. (Macomb County Public Works)

The Macomb County Public Works Office has announced operational changes to prevent the combination of sanitary sewage and stormwater from going into Lake St. Clair.

According to a news release, these changes will allow about 8.6 million gallons to be temporarily stored upstream from the lake when there is heavy rain.

“We’re very happy and proud that we were able to avoid discharging millions of gallons of CSO’s from the Chapaton Pump Station in St. Clair Shores,” Public Works Commissioner Candice S. Miller writes in a news release. “It’s proof that any and all improvements are worthwhile to reduce overflows.”

EGLE has allowed sewage overflows for the past couple of decades if the proper amount of chlorine was used to treat the overflow.

“We don’t need to keep living this way and leaving it for the next generations to solve. That’s why in Macomb County, we are continually studying ideas, designing projects and pursuing local, state and federal funding to pay for upgrades,” writes Miller. “We urge Oakland County and Wayne County to do the same.”

City officials say that the weekend of May 15 was the fifth time in the last 15 months where discharge was treated.

“We’re very pleased with how well our operational change at Chapaton, which we continue to study, has worked,” Miller said in a release. “No stormwater system can completely handle the so-called ‘100-year’ rain events like those that dumped 4-7 inches of rain between southeast Macomb County to the Grosse Pointes and the Jefferson-Chalmers area of northeast Detroit 11 months ago. But those storms showed everyone that major investment is needed in our underground infrastructure by the counties, state and federal government.”

The Macomb County Public Works Office is one of the largest waste water pump stations in the county. The office is in a design phase of a new pump station to help increase capacity and create redundancy.

About the Author:

Elizabeth Washington is a Digital Producer and has been with Local 4 News since April 2022.