The City of Farmington is spending $850,000 to build something most residents will never see, but will appreciate for years to come.
On Wednesday, Department of Public Works Director Chuck Eudy lead Mayor Bill Galvin and Mayor Pro Tem Steven Schneemann on a tour of the new Twin Valley Lift Station, under construction north of Shiawassee and east of Farmington Road. The new station is located along a road locally known as “McGee Hill,” which was closed to motor traffic in the late 1960s.
Simply put, pumps “lift” raw sewage and some storm water traveling through underground pipes from the Rouge River valley up to Shiawassee Road, then to Grand River and on to Detroit. The station keeps water and sewage from backing up into basements during heavy rains.
Eudy said the original lift station’s capacity is already stretched to its limit, and new residential development to the north – on the former 47th District Court property and Farmington Public Schools administrative campus – is expected within the next several years.
City officials last year approved a $1.5 million bond for the Twin Valley project, Rouge River bank restoration, and a sewer lining project in the Bel-Aire subdivision. The bulk of the funds will be used to build the lift station and a concrete block house to store banks of electronic equipment that will make the 10-foot by 12-foot building look like the deck of the starship Enterprise, Eudy said.
“I can be in my office and see how it’s operating,” he explained. “We can’t control it, but we can monitor it, and it will also appear on Oakland County’s system.”
That’s a great improvement over the existing station, where four floating balls serve as triggers. Workers don’t know there’s a problem until an alarm goes off at Farmington Public Safety. Eudy also expects the schedule of inspections and maintenance to go from weekly and monthly with the old system, to monthly and quarterly, freeing up staff for other work.
Once the new lift station is online, the current station will be demolished, Eudy said, and the entire area will be restored with grass seed, mulch, and gravel. A 20 kilowatt generator is also being replaced with a 100 kilowatt version. Overall, the new lift station will triple the existing capacity – even though residents won’t notice much of a difference.
“We’re spending $1.5 million, and nobody sees it, but everybody appreciates it,” Galvin said.