Following 18 months of construction, the Howell Water Resource Recovery Facility serving Howell and Marion Township has completed.
Stakeholders for the WRRF construction included Howell, Marion Township and PepsiCo. According to a news report from Livingston Daily, PepsiCo began investing in the Howell Wastewater Treatment Plant in 2016 so the facility could better pretreat the industrial discharges from its facility. With the upgrades completed at the end of October 2022, the location has also been renamed to reflect the facility does more than just treat wastewater.
"Water is a very important resource and we're recovering it. We're cleaning it and putting it back into the environment," Department of Public Services Deputy Director Mike Spitler said in an interview with Livingston Daily.
Included among the upgrades to the WRRF is the biological nutrient removal system, which eliminates the need to add ferric chloride to the stream for removal of nutrients. The project also included improvements to three of the clarifiers, the construction of new buildings, three odor control systems and a new lab, among other structural upgrades.
According to a report from WHMI 93.5 FM, during the grand opening, Michigan Department of the Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) Director Liesle Clark said the facility marks the importance of upgrading unseen infrastructure.
“Everyone knows when you are driving on a 40-year-old road, but no one realizes when you are drinking from a 40-year-old pipe," Clark said. "Howell is an excellent example of a community keeping this at the forefront of their planning."
Average daily flow for the facility is 1.25 million gallons per day with a peak daily flow of 2.5 mgd to handle large increases in flow, such as extreme wet weather events. The facility has five full-time employees as well as part-time workers to run, manage and maintain the plant.
With the change in name, Spitler told Livingston Daily that Howell plans to host tours of the facility to educate the community about what they do and how it recovers resources in addition to cleaning water. The plant even installed a fish tank as an example of how clean the water leaving the plant is.
"We want to reach out to a lot of the local schools too to just bring more of that younger generation in and really teach them about the processes," he said in the Livingston Daily report. “The process has done such a great job of cleaning it that fish are able to live in it.”