The Commerce Township Board of Trustees was expected to seek bids on an insurance policy to cover the township’s liability at the Commerce Township Wastewater Treatment Plant during a meeting held last night, Tuesday, Jan. 25.
Township Supervisor Tom Zoner said the treatment plant has always been under the county Water Resources Commissioner’s Office blanket coverage throughout its expansion construction. Now that work is coming to an end, a specialist has told him that it’s a good time to make sure Commerce is as covered as it can be.
“I have always assumed that the county has that covered because they’re the Detroit water and sewer pass-through,” Zoner said. “I’ve been told that’s not the case.”
What the township’s insurance guru has said is that the county Water Resource Commissioner’s Office has its own blanket coverage, but that blanket is there to cover the county’s liability and the county’s alone. Now that the site is no longer under construction, the township has to make sure it’s covered well enough for its own purposes.
There’s the run-of-the-mill, slip-and-fall issues that can happen at any public building, as well as others specific to a water treatment facility. Aside from the chemicals used in the wastewater treatment process, there’s the wastewater itself, and a spill of any of those products could be disastrous for the township from the standpoint of liability.
The township is expected to solicit bids on insurance coverage for the treatment plant. Zoner said figures he’s heard in connection with the plan are in the $80,000 per year area.
“There could be an environmental problem if there was some kind of mishap,” Zoner said. “In the older style plants, not this one, there were gases that could start a fire.”
There haven’t been any problems or any hint of problems at the plant. The treatment plant has been awarded a “Platinum Performance Award” by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies for the way the plant has been run over the past five years.
Zoner said the award is given to plants that have no problems of any kind. It’s not just that there have been no spills or malfunctions pertaining to the operation of the plant, the award is given out on the basis of the plant having no operational or performance mishaps whatsoever since coming online.
“This is truly a remarkable achievement,” said Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner John McCulloch. “What it means is that for the past five years, the men and women at the Commerce Township plant have always been in compliance with their permit requirements. There was not a single misstep in that five-year period.”