I was gratified and humbled by the election results in early November as the voters of Oakland County decided to allow me four more years as their Water Resources Commissioner. I have promised to continue to focus on providing great service for our customers, renewing our commitment to sustainable practices, and doing everything we can to protect the environment and the vital natural water resources that are critical to our way of life.
During my first four years we began strategic planning, organized an annual storm water conference, held town hall meetings on important environmental topics in every part of the county, and increased outreach education to protect our lakes, rivers, and streams. You can read more about the successes of the not-for-profit we created, Pure Oakland Water, in this newsletter.
In the next four years, I expect to see further successes in providing for local communities’ ability to increase access to resources for storm water management and additional flood control. I also hope to increase our use of energy saving programs that can save money and decrease pollution. We will also continue to seek out best practices as we manage and update our infrastructure for future generations.
I appreciate the residents of Oakland County, our great corporate partners, local and regional elected officials, and most of all, our employees at the WRC. Together, we will work to make this region the best that it can be.
Project Saves Communities Money, Helps the Environment
Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Perry Street Diversion Project on October 11th at Galloway Lake Park on North Perry Street in Pontiac. More than 50 people attended including Water Resources Commissioner staff members, local elected officials, consulting engineers and construction contractors along with representatives from Pontiac and the 13 communities in the Clinton-Oakland Sewage Disposal System.
“My office is excited to have this project completed and functioning," said Commissioner Nash. “This system not only helps relieve capacity issues for our Clinton-Oakland communities, it also allows us to fully utilize the Pontiac Wastewater Treatment Plant, saves the communities money, and increases flow into the Clinton River. This is a triple win for these systems, all of the communities and the environment.”
The Perry Street Diversion Project addresses sewer capacity issues in the Clinton-Oakland Sewage Disposal System which is made up of 13 communities in the northeast part of Oakland County. The project includes a new sanitary pump station and sanitary sewer force main for diversion into the Pontiac Wastewater Treatment Plant. The effort is already successful, meeting contractual obligation to the Great Lakes Water Authority to divert 30 percent of the flow that previously went to the Great Lakes Water Authority Wastewater Treatment Plant to the Pontiac Wastewater Treatment Plant instead.
The 13 Clinton-Oakland communities include Auburn Hills, Clarkston, Lake Angelus, Lake Orion, Oxford Village, Rochester, Rochester Hills and the Townships of Independence, Oakland, Orion, Oxford, Waterford and West Bloomfield.
Since it began in 2013, POW has sponsored 11 river and water festivals reaching more than 17,000 students with water conservation and environmental education programs. POW has also provided scholarships for a dozen college students entering the fields of water engineering or environmental science at Oakland University and Lawrence Technological University.
We supported paid internship programs at two watershed council organizations that provided employment, experience and training for eight students who then helped the nonprofit groups with valuable staff support.
POW has organized four annual regional storm water summits attracting hundreds of attendees and providing needed updates, education and networking opportunities for regional stakeholders.
We created and organized three annual family environmental education day-long festivals in Pontiac for under served populations known as Art-Fish-Fun. Hundreds of people have enjoyed this free event since 2014.
POW provided funding for four years for the annual Kids Clean Water Calendar that provides environmental education and outreach for upwards of 20,000 students, parents and teachers across Oakland County each year.
POW also created a professional two-minute public service video that uses humor to create a culturally relevant message on the deleterious effects of flushing wipes and other items into the sewer system. See that video on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJjZlFtvvVQ&feature
All of this work was made possible by the board members and volunteers of Pure Oakland Water as well as our generous friends in the business community. Learn more about POW at http://pureoaklandwater.org
Five of the college students who received POW Scholarship Funds in 2016.