Wayne Co. sewage plant sale finalized
The sale of a Wayne County sewage disposal system to a group of downriver communities for $57.5 million has been finalized, officials said Thursday.
Closing of the deal comes about two years after the group, the Downriver Utility Wastewater Authority, issued a letter of intent to purchase the system.
The Wayne County Commission approved the sale to the authority in July. County officials said they plan to use proceeds of the sale to support retiree healthcare, pensions and other unfunded obligations.
Officials said the authority purchased the system by selling 25-year municipal bonds.
The sewage system serves 13 communities — Allen Park, Belleville, Brownstown Township, Ecorse, Dearborn Heights, Lincoln Park, River Rouge, Riverview, Romulus, Southgate, Taylor, Van Buren Township and Wyandotte.
The communities are represented by the authority, which is overseen by a board of directors made up of leaders of each municipalities.
“I want to congratulate members of the Board for all of the work they have done over the past three years to make this vision a reality,” Rick Sollars, Taylor's mayor and the authority's chairman, said in a statement.
The system's sewage treatment plant is located on 34 acres in Wyandotte and serves a population of about 350,000. The facility is the state’s second largest wastewater treatment facility with capacity to treat 225 million gallons of raw sewage daily.
As the system's new owner, the authority will set sewage system rates for its communities instead of the county.
In addition, the authority will maintain ownership and oversight of the plant, but it has contracted Veolia North America to handle the daily operations and management. The plant's current 26 workers will become Veolia employees, officials said.