ADRIAN - The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has approved another large low-interest loan for the City of Adrian to help it stop dumping sewage into the River Raisin every time there's a hard rain.
The $7.09 million loan approved this month from Michigan's Clean Water State Revolving Fund will be used to fund the ongoing improvements of both Adrian's wastewater treatment plant and the Broad Street Pump Station.
Both facilities have a long and troubled history of overflowing and sending untreated or partially treated sewage into the River Raisin when the area experiences particularly heavy rains.
During the last 12 months, state records show the city sent nearly 800,000 gallons of untreated sewage into the river during two heavy storms.
The loan is Adrian's second disbursement from the revolving fund in five months. In September, the city received an $8.9 million loan from the fund to help pay for the separation project.
Both 20-year loans are at interest rates of less than 2 percent, the DEQ said.
The city and the village of Blissfield have been redesigning their sanitary and stormwater sewer systems in recent years to stop what had been frequent overflows into the river.
Blissfield wrapped up its separation project in 2005, while Adrian's much larger system has required more time and more money to fix, city officials said.
Adrian officials originally estimated their sewer separation project would cost in excess of $14 million to complete.
Since that time, however, additional work has been added to the scope of the project.
An updated total cost figure was unavailable yesterday, however, city officials have said previously sewer bills would increase as a result of the project.
The frequent discharges in years past befouled the River Raisin downstream, resulting in frequent contact warnings being issued for the river in neighboring Monroe County because of high bacteria levels.