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Chad Dean of Spence Brothers construction company shows waterlines from Whitestone in new Bay County plant.

WATER TURNED ON: Higher Quality Lake Huron Source Hooked to Local System

September 5, 2015       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Finally, we have Lake Huron water at the tap!

Two-thirds of a century after Bay City turned down a deal with Saginaw and Midland for a joint water source at Whitestone Point, officials have finally succeeded-- but now we are buying the water from S-M.

The Bay County Road Commission Department of Water and Sewer issued a news release that they "are proud to announce that the Bay Area Water Treatment Plant (WTP) has begun production and distribution of water to customers through-out Bay County and limited areas of Tuscola County."

Water production began on Monday, August 31, 2015. Hallelujah! some 90,000 local customers can rightly shout.

The news release states "Bay Area WTP is a new state-of-the-art membrane filtration facility that treats raw water provided through a connection to the Saginaw Midland Municipal Water Supply Corporation (SMMWSC) which draws water from its Lake Huron intake near Au Gres. The combination of a high quality raw water source and membrane filtration provides a high quality drinking water to the customers."

The new Bay Area WTP will serve fourteen partner government entities in Bay County along with 6 other water districts.

The facility is the result of an unprecedented joint agreement signed January 30, 2013 between the Bay County Road Commission, 10 townships, and 3 cities throughout Bay County.

The project includes construction of a 40,893-sq-ft building containing the membrane filters, raw and finished water pumping, chemical storage and feed facilities, residuals treatment facilities, a laboratory, administration offices, and two 1.4 million gallon finished water tanks outside the building.

A pair of two-mile raw water transmission mains running in the old Detroit & Mackinac railroad line were constructed to connect the plant with the SMMWSC raw water system. The Bay Area WTP is located at 2701 N. Euclid Avenue in Bangor Township.

With a projected cost of $59.6 million, the project is financed through the Bay County Board of Commissioners. Michigan's Drinking Water Revolving fund is providing up to $30 million in low interest loans with up to $7.46 million eligible for principal forgiveness, in essence a grant, due to the green elements of the project such as the membrane system. An additional $30 million in funding is provided by Local Government Loan Program bonds through the Michigan Finance Authority.

Spence Brothers of Saginaw constructed the Water Treatment Plant and Dan's Excavating of Shelby Township contracted to construct the transmission mains connecting the plant to the new raw water source.

Detroit-based CDM Smith performed design and construction related services for the project with the assistance of Rowe Professional Services and G2 Consulting.

The Bay Area WTP is operated and maintained by the Bay County Department of Water and Sewer, a department of the Bay County Road Commission, and is the largest membrane water plant in Michigan. Final completion of the facility is scheduled for November 15, 2015.

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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at

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