Saline’s Largest Capital Improvement Project to Date


Artist rendering of proposed WWTP improvements. From the presentation.

By Carleen Nelson-Nesvig, STN Writer

At Mayor Marl’s Senior Conference on Aug. 18th, Brian Rubel Sr., Project Manager/Vice President of Tetra Tech, presented an update on Saline’s Wastewater Treatment Project. According Rubel, upgrading Saline’s wastewater processing is the largest capital improvement project in the city’s history.

Chief Financial Officer for the City, Elle Cole explained to the Sun Times News that the city has been approved for both state and federal dollars, but a short fall of $6.8 million still exists.

Rubel added that “We need to rely on Saline residents to advocate for the city. There is an eighty-one million dollar working budget, on this three-year project. We still need more state and federal dollar to finish this project. We need clean, safe water.”

City Manager, Colleen O’Toole said, “The City is incredibly thankful for the support and effort of our local federal legislators to-date. We know that our representatives see the challenge this issue presents to our community and are committed to continuing to advocate on Saline’s behalf.”

O’Toole reminds citizens that “While the cost of this project is a heavy burden, it also brings with it a bevy of improvements to our community and environment that will enhance the greater Saline area for years to come.”

Rubel told the group that the existing wastewater treatment plant with originally constructed in 1950. The infrastructure is aging and faces treatment performance challenges, especially in wet weather. He pointed out that Saline is a growing community with new growth demands.

The project includes the following structures and processes:

  • New headworks facility
  • New maintenance building
  • An additional primary clarifier
  • New aeration tanks and secondary clarification
  • Wet weather storage ability
  • Ability to dry biosolids so they can be landfilled

Project benefits include improved treatment (a healthier river), facilitation maintenance, more reliable method to dispose of biosolids and room for city growth.

A tentative start date is set for Sep. 2023, with an expected completion in June 2026.

Residents interested in supporting city efforts to acquire additional funds can download a form letter to write senators Peters and Stabenow at

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