Discussions highlighted how an upcoming water infrastructure project, made possible by funding secured by Sen. Hertel, wilimpact Sans Souci residents

HARSENS ISLAND, Mich. (August 18, 2023)  On Thursday, August 17, Sen. Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores) joined Clay Township Supervisor Artie Bryson at a town hall event on Harsens Island to discuss plans to build a new wastewater treatment plant. The project is made possible by funds secured by Sen. Hertel in the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget and will be transformational for the area, helping to protect waterways, improve residents’ quality of life and allow small businesses in the Sans Souci community to thrive.

Located at the heart of the largest freshwater delta in North America, Harsens Island is a local gem that has the potential to strengthen our region’s economy while providing residents and tourists with unique recreational opportunities,” said Sen. Hertel. “It’s imperative for the health of the island that issues with their wastewater treatment plant be addressed. I’m glad we were able to secure funding in the state budget to make this transformational project a reality.”

Included in the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget is $2 million Sen. Hertel secured for Harsens Island to construct a wastewater treatment plant utilizing OneWater Group’s Algaewheel technology. Algaewheel operates as a self-sustaining ecosystem that uses daylight, algae and bacteria to consume 90% less energy than conventional systems, while absorbing significantly more carbon dioxide. As a result of this reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the township will be able to collect and sell carbon credits that will go towards maintaining the plant. This project will deliver substantial energy reductions to the community and revitalize the San Souci district, ultimately making the area more attractive to new businesses.

“Clay Township is always looking to improve residents’ quality of life, and we are grateful to have found a partner in Senator Hertel who is committed to representing our interests in Lansing,” said Supervisor Bryson. “These funds make this project feasible and will go a long way toward helping us grow our local economy and making Harsens Island a destination.”

Mayor Brian Schenk led a similar project in his town of Naples, NY. After experiencing economic stagnation — similar to that of Harsens Island — the city used the company’s green technology when building their own water treatment plant. Following development of the plant, the Naples community has seen a resurgence of business and even won several awards from the state and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Algaewheel is truly next-generation technology in the field of water infrastructure,” said Lance Surdey, head of the Clay Township Water Department, who toured the Algaewheel facility in LaPorte, Indiana, last spring with Supervisor Bryson. “Not only is it successful at treating wastewater, but it also has several key sustainable benefits that help communities lower their carbon footprint. The implementation of this system is sure to lead to great things for Harsens Island residents and businesses.”