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What Constitutes an Authority?

SCH VC 2By Sue Moore

What is the South County Sewer and Water Authority, an audience member asked the Schoolcraft Village Council members at its first meeting in October.

“It is the name of the organization that runs and monitors the sewer built around Indian Lake in Brady Township and Pickerel Lake in Pavilion Township,” Village President Keith Gunnett explained. “It was formed to build that sewer system over there. They get to set the rates for the users of the system. It has grown a bit since it was built. In 1998 they invited the village of Schoolcraft to participate in their meetings. In 2015 the Vicksburg joined the Authority. We don’t pay dues but we do have a vote on the board now.”

The Authority through Wightman & Associates has offered Schoolcraft three options if it wants to develop its own sewer system, Gunnett explained to the audience:

Option 1: Go through Portage to the Kalamazoo treatment plant. There are stumbling blocks along the way, Gunnett cautioned. Contracts would need to be negotiated with Portage and Kalamazoo. The sewer authority, which is only partially involved, has been in a lawsuit with the City of Kalamazoo for many years over the city’s rate structure. It still hasn’t been resolved.

Option 2: Go down US-131 with pipes laid down the highway and eventually connect to Kalamazoo’s waste treatment plant. This is probably the most expensive option because new pipe would need to be laid to run and tie into a main interceptor that goes into the plant.

Option 3: Own the treatment plant somewhere south of Schoolcraft that allows for setting our own destiny with costs and rates. It would be new and that is an advantage. The Kalamazoo waste water system is approaching 100 years old so will likely require more maintenance and upgrades in the future.

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