Oct 18, 2001

Wayne County Commissioner Sullivan Pushes for Water Tank Repairs

Project Now Underway

Wayne County Commissioner John J. Sullivan, D-Wayne, announced that the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) is making much-needed repairs to water storage tanks that service the residents of western Wayne County. The water tanks, located at the southeast corner of Michigan Avenue and Merriman Road, have been an eyesore for several years.

Sullivan began his efforts to have the water tanks restored approximately two years ago. "The first step was to find out who owned the tanks and had the responsibility of maintaining them," Sullivan said. Once he determined that the water tanks were owned and maintained by the Detroit Water Department, he embarked on a two-year crusade to have them repaired and painted.

Sullivan began investigating the situation after being contacted by Father Francisco Radecki of St. Joseph's Catholic Church of Wayne. "He pointed out that the location of these tanks was right at the entrance to the city of Wayne and they gave a bad impression of the community to the thousands of people that drive through the area," Sullivan said. The intersection has a high volume of traffic from southeast Michigan residents as well as from people traveling to and from Metro Airport; the tanks also are in close proximity to the communities of Westland, Romulus and Inkster.

He began to contact officials at the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. When first approached in late 1999, they indicated to Commissioner Sullivan that a request for bids had been sent out to make the necessary repairs. They also indicated that they would paint the tanks to help make them look better until the necessary repairs were made, which they did. Although the temporary repairs did cover up graffiti on the tanks, continued leaking resulted in discolorations that soon made them unsightly once again.

A delay occurred when DWSD did not get the bids that they were hoping for. Adverse weather conditions also slowed the process. However, Sullivan remained diligent and contacted the Department regularly to monitor the situation.

Now, progress is underway. "Anybody who drives by the water tanks will now see that the workers are there and they are completely refurbishing the tanks," Sullivan said. One tank is being rehabilitated with expected completion in late fall, weather permitting. The other tank probably will be completed next spring, said James Heath, DWSD's assistant director of water supply operations.

Sullivan also inquired about the security of the facility as a result of concerns brought to his attention by former Wayne Mayor Ken Warfield. Due to national terrorist threats, Warfield wanted to know what precautions were being taken to protect the tanks, which supply water to hundreds of thousands of residents in western Wayne County. As a result, Sullivan contacted DWSD which, in turn, responded that security had been heightened and the tanks were being closely monitored by patrols. They also have asked the Westland Police to drive by the facility more frequently.

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