Chelsea Reduces Water Treatment Capacity In Face of Lawsuit

Chelsea city council decided at their meeting on the 14th of this month to shut down one of their reverse osmosis water softeners in an effort to placate Chelsea Investment Group, LLC in their lawsuit against the City and the City Manager. The full story in the Chelsea Standard explains the reasoning for this in detail, but I’ll rehash a bit.

The reverse osmosis process of softening the water has a byproduct that must be disposed. In 2002-2003, the City took a short-cut to comply with Michigan Department of Environmental Quality rules and ran the discharge into the Chelsea Wastewater Treatment Plant and keep the money from the Drinking Water Revolving Fund, which was tied to a schedule. Which was great when the projection for waste to be disposed was a max of 125,000 gallons, but the City is actually pumping out 414,000 gallons at peak, with an average of 250,000 gallons per day. Tied to the Library issue from earlier this year, you’d think the City needs a math tutor. But, I digress.

The net-net of this is that at peak times (or any time the treatment plant can’t handle the output), the City will be delivering hard water to residents who paid for soft water. Just to point out what’s got me in a huff, they’re going to deliver hard water to me when I paid for softened water. I’m not really that upset with it being hard water; I grew up on well water so I know it’s not going to kill me. What I do resent is paying for something I’m not getting. I also resent the fact that the City has once again taken what seems like hasty action. The move is obviously an attempt to make the lawsuit go away, but, unless the paper is leaving something out, they didn’t even check to make sure the Investment Group would accept the conciliation.

Robert Ponte, a lawyer here in Chelsea, wrote in his Letter to the Editor in the 23 March edition of the Chelsea Standard:

Doing the expedient act got is into this mess. There is no reason to believe that doing the next expedient act will get us out of anything except the developer’s lawsuit. My question is, who does the quick fix serve? Does it serve anyone but the developer?

Despite their rhetorical nature, the questions deserve honest answers. I have a hard time believing that the City truly has anything in mind except getting rid of the lawsuit. This move serves no one in the City except those who belong to the lawsuit, who bullied their way into the development in the first place.

Robert has called for residents to support (either financially or in spirit) hiring a qualified professional to look at “getting out of this mess” but emailing him at Sounds like a good suggestion and I would encourage all Chelsea residents to get in touch with Mr. Ponte.

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