Zorn applauds state loans for wastewater treatment improvements

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Dale Zorn on Monday applauded the approval of state low-interest loans to Tecumseh and Hudson to help make needed sewer and wastewater treatment improvements.

“Every Michigan family deserves access to clean and safe drinking water,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “To protect our water resources and the health of our residents, it is critical that we continue to help communities invest in important public infrastructure.

“I applaud the Tecumseh and Hudson community leaders for working with the state to secure the necessary funds to make these key infrastructure improvements.”

The city of Hudson recently received Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) approval of a $5.2 million loan from the State Revolving Fund (SRF) for improvements to the city’s wastewater treatment plant and collection system to address high influent flows. Part of the funds being made available to Hudson are in the form of loan principal forgiveness totaling $150,000.

The DEQ also recently approved a loan of more than $1.5 million from the SRF to the city of Tecumseh for the rehabilitation of the city’s sanitary sewer and the County Club Pump Station. Funds will also help replace a sludge pump at the wastewater treatment plant.

Michigan’s Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund, better known as the State Revolving Fund, provides low-interest loans to local municipalities for construction of water pollution control facilities, such as sewage or stormwater treatment projects.

The fund was established in accordance with federal Clean Water Act guidelines, using federal capitalization grants and the required state matching funds.

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Senate approves Zorn local public servants bill

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate has approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Dale Zorn to help local communities fill first responder and public safety positions.

“This reform is about allowing additional local public servants to help save lives in their communities,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Many small, rural townships in Michigan faced decreasing numbers of candidates for volunteer firefighters or EMTs in the 1990s. The problem was made worse because the townships could not consider board members who were trained and willing to serve.

“To help protect the public, the law was changed to provide flexibility to townships with fewer than 25,000 people. Unfortunately, local governments just above that limit are now having the same issues in finding enough first responders and police officers.”

Senate Bill 605 would raise the population threshold for the Contracts of Public Servants with Public Entities Act from 25,000 to 40,000. Currently under the act, public servants of a township, city, village or county with a population of 25,000 or more cannot serve as emergency medical services personnel or a firefighter for that community.

The bill would enable local governments with up to 40,000 residents to have board or council members serve the local government as EMTs, firefighters, police officers or public safety officers.

SB 605 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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***MEDIA ADVISORY*** Zorn, Dundee students to honor Vietnam veterans

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn and Dundee Middle School students will be honoring Vietnam veterans on Friday during the school’s Veterans Day celebration.

Who:
Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida;
Dundee Middle School students; and
Area veterans.

What:
A Vietnam veteran lapel-pinning presentation by Zorn and Dundee Middle School students.

When:
Friday, Nov. 10 at 9 a.m.

Where:
Dundee Middle School gymnasium
420 Ypsilanti Road
Dundee, MI 48131

Briefing:
In commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the Vietnam War, Zorn has hosted several ceremonies to give long-overdue recognition to the Vietnam War era veterans and their families.

A Vietnam War Commemorative Lapel Pin will be provided to any U.S. veteran who served on active duty at any time from Nov. 1, 1955 – May 15, 1975, regardless of location.

The ceremony is made possible by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration. Information regarding the commemoration can be found at www.VietnamWar50th.com.

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Ensuring the safe use of biosolids on Michigan farms

Early this year, I was notified by residents and local officials about foul odors and terrible dust problems in our rural communities due to the spreading of a type of fertilizer known as biosolids.

I have been working with state and local agencies, elected officials, scientists, farmers and area residents to ensure the use of biosolids is safe and that the application on our farms is done intelligently with minimal impact to surrounding neighbors.

Biosolids are treated and processed human sewage sludge that, if used properly like manure, can be a beneficial and nutrient-rich addition to soil. The two most common alternatives to soil enrichment are incineration or landfilling, which are both expensive and wasteful.

Liquid biosolids have been applied to land in Michigan for decades, but recently we have seen a newer version of biosolids called “Class A Exceptional Quality.” That means the biosolids meet federal standards for low pollutants, are virtually pathogen-free and have been processed so they do not attract animals, insects or vermin.

The new biosolids being spread around southern Michigan come from a drying facility operated by the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) that provides sewer service to nearly 30 percent of the state, including customers in Oakland, Wayne and Macomb counties.

A robust pretreatment of waste before it enters the sewage system, combined with a multistage drying process, is used to prepare biosolids for land application that meets both state and federal environmental regulations.

Once the biosolids are ready, they are shipped to a field and spread. That is the point where most of our local concerns arise.

The excessive dust this year drew so many complaints that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality in August sent the GLWA a notice stating they were failing to meet requirements for land application. State regulators have since met with representatives of the authority, and they have agreed on steps to get the dust and smell under control.

The Michigan Farm Bureau, state regulators and wastewater operators have also held a series of meetings to develop guidelines for better handling and application of biosolids.

The state should continue oversight and create better management practices that will work to address local concerns. These include limiting application on days with high winds, tightening controls on where the biosolids are spread, and additional soil testing to eliminate excessive nutrients that could enter drains and streams that run into Lake Erie.

We should stay vigilant in protecting our water resources for drinking and recreation. Clean water is a precious commodity, and I will do everything I can to protect it for future generations.

Zorn announces November office hours

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Dale Zorn has announced that he will conduct district office hours in Tecumseh and Dundee this month.

Office hours are open to residents to express their opinions or concerns about state government or to request assistance with a state issue.

The first office hour will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 8 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Tecumseh District Library, 215 N. Ottawa St. in Tecumseh.

The second office hour will be held on Thursday, Nov. 16 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Cool Beanz Coffee, 112 Park Place, in Dundee.

“I am holding these local office hours in order to help provide residents a convenient opportunity to meet with me in person,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “My aim is to provide the best service possible for the hardworking people of the 17th District. I look forward to continuing a regular series of meetings throughout the district and hearing directly from constituents in one-on-one discussions.”

To respect other patrons of the library and restaurant, no town-hall style discussions will be entertained. No appointment is necessary.

Residents who are unable to attend the office hours may contact Zorn’s office at (517) 373-3543 or via e-mail at SenDZorn@senate.michigan.gov.

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Zorn bill gives flexibility to more local governments

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Local Government Committee on Tuesday approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Dale Zorn to help local communities to fill first responder and public safety positions.

“In the 1990s, many rural townships faced decreasing numbers of candidates for volunteer firefighters or EMTs, and it was only made worse by having to take board members — who were trained and willing to serve — out of consideration,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “The law was changed in 1992 to provide flexibility to townships under 25,000 people. Unfortunately, local governments just above that limit are having the same issues in finding enough first responders and police officers.

“This reform will allow additional local public servants to help save lives in their communities.”

Senate Bill 605 would raise the population threshold for the Contracts of Public Servants with Public Entities Act from 25,000 to 40,000. Currently under the act, public servants of a township, city, village or county with a population of 25,000 or more cannot serve as emergency medical services personnel or a firefighter for that community.

As approved by the committee, SB 605 would enable local governments with up to 40,000 residents have board or council members serve the local government as EMTs, firefighters, police officers or public safety officers.

The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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