Water Resource Recovery Facility

The Coldwater Board of Public Utility's Water Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) is responsible for treating all residential and commercial sanitary sewage generated in the City limits. The main focus for the WRRF is to protect the environment by removing impurities in the water used by the community. Organic matter removed from wastewater is applied to agricultural land. The cleaned and filtered water is then returned to the environment through the local lake-chain.
The WRRF Department staff is responsible for repairs and maintenance to the equipment at the plant as well as monitoring and performing laboratory analysis on the sewage as it undergoes treatment. The treated sewage must meet stringent State and Federal Standards before it can be discharged. The plant is responsible for treating 8 million gallons of wastewater per day.
Aerial View of the Wastewater Treatment Plant

History of the Water Resource Recovery Facility

The first wastewater treatment plant was constructed in Coldwater in 1951-52. It consisted of primary treatment, secondary biological trickling filters, final settling, and anaerobic digestion of sludge solids. It provided the community with a treatment capacity of 1.5 MGD (million gallons per day). All of the original 1951-52 plant components are still in use today, with major upgrades occurring in 1972, 1986, 1990, and 2001. The plant now treats 3.2 MGD on an average daily basis and peak flows up to 8.0 MGD. Major improvements over the years have included:
  • Advanced wastewater filtration
  • All new pumping facilities
  • Chemical phosphorus removal
  • Fine bubble activated sludge secondary treatment
  • New headworks building with improved grit removal
  • One million gallon sludge storage tank
  • Renovation of the original trickling filters
  • State-certified water quality control laboratory
  • State-of-the-art instrumentation and alarm system (SCADA)
  • Ultraviolet disinfection
These improvements have been funded through Federal, State, and local funds. In 1972, the U.S. Congress passed amendments to the Water Pollution Control Act which required communities to upgrade their wastewater treatment plants. The Congress provided substantial financial assistance to help with this phase of construction. Since then, all the improvements have been funded through locally-funded bond issues. The total investment in this facility is over $10,000,000.

Sewer Backups

All residents and commercial establishment operators should contact a plumber first prior to calling the CBPU for assistance with sewer back-ups (sink or shower will not drain, toilet will not flush, water back-up from basement floor drain, etc.). The plumber is responsible for determining if the problem is in the property owner's sanitary sewer service or lead. If the plumber is unable to fix the back-up because the plumber believes the cause is in the sewer main, the plumber should contact the CBPU. City crews will then be sent to check the sanitary sewer main and verify that the property owner is still experiencing a back-up. If the CBPU is called to a sanitary sewer back-up and determines that the back-up is not caused by the City's sewer main line, the resident/homeowner/business owner may be billed for the City's time spent in determining the nature of the problem.

What a Homeowner Needs to Know

The State of Michigan passed a law, Act 222 of Public Acts of 2001, which clarifies the conditions under which municipalities are liable for sewer backups. The Act sets standards to determine the extent to which a municipality is liable for backups and establishes a process that affected persons must follow to seek compensation when a backup occurs. Anyone making a claim for property damage or physical injury must prove that the public sewer had a defect. Further, the person must prove that the governmental agency knew, or in the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have known about the defect. Also, it must be proven that the governmental agency having the legal authority did not take the reasonable steps in a reasonable amount of time to repair, correct or remedy the defect. Finally, the defect must be 50% or more of the cause of the event and the property damage or physical injury.

If you experience an overflow or backup of a sewage disposal system or storm water system, and intend to make a claim, you can file a written claim with the Coldwater Board of Public Utilities within 45 days after the overflow or backup is discovered. If you are interested in receiving additional information or have any questions concerning this law, please feel free to contact our Water / Sewer Department at 517-279-4805. Upon discovery of an overflow or sanitary backup, immediately contact the Coldwater Board of Public Utilities at 517-279-9531.