Public Works Department

Responsibilities and Duties

  • Review of all development proposals for water, sewer, and stormwater compliance
  • Plan and manage water and sewer extensions
  • Road construction and maintenance oversight
  • Sidewalk and path construction and maintenance oversight
  • Provides counsel to all departments on matters of engineering and surveying
  • Maintains infrastructure and public works records

Sanitary Sewer


Mandatory Connections

Sewer Connection Notice

Documents below relate to official “Notices of Availability” sent on various dates in early 2018 to residents who are located adjacent to public sanitary sewer and are required to connect pursuant to Michigan Act 368 of 1978 and Oshtemo Township Code 232.008.

For other proposed expansion areas that have other supportive financing opportunities like loans or grants or new connections, these documents and rates may differ. Please contact public works staff to confirm.

Reference (1): Amended and Restated Sewer Main Connection Charges(PDF, 132KB)(PDF, 606KB)

Reference (2): City of Kalamazoo Water and Wastewater Rate Schedules

Reference (3):  Options to Re-purpose an Old Septic Tank(PDF, 358KB)

Reference (4):  Oshtemo Township Sewer System Impact Analysis, Upjohn Institute, October 29, 2015(PDF, 3MB)

Reference (5):  Aging Septic Systems Fouling Michigan Waters, Detroit Free Press, January 16, 2017(PDF, 180KB)

Reference (6):  Kalamazoo County Health Department Endorsement Letter(PDF, 185KB)

Reference (7):  USDA Rural Development Loan – Preliminary Engineering Report(PDF, 3MB)

Reference (8):  Summary of Public Outreach and Community Engagement(PDF, 16KB)

Reference (9): 2020 Oshtemo Roads PASER Map(PDF, 464KB)

Reference (10):  Notice Template(PDF, 89KB)

Public Notices

August 8, 2017 Township Board Meeting Minutes(PDF, 235KB)

Kalamazoo Gazette Announcement(PDF, 830KB)

November 2017 Township Newsletter(PDF, 3MB)

January 2018 Township Newsletter(PDF, 4MB)



Neighborhood Sanitary Sewer Expansion

*Not all documents have been updated to reflect the current 2023 timeline for beginning the projects. 

Map of Expansion Areas

Phase 1

Phase 2

  • All of Westport (i.e., Westport plats 1-13, Meadowbrook Hills No. 1 and No. 2 plats, Countrywood Estates plat, and Wyndham Wood plat)
  • Country Club Village plats 1-5
  • KL Ave between 8th Street and Autumn’s Way Blvd
  • 11th Street between Parkview Ave and N Ave
  • O Park Street and Frie Ave in the Frie & Gibbs plat

News and Notices

Current Status
  • Closing on the USDA Bond financing for Phase 1 is still pending. 
  • The Township Board approved the removal of the alternate portion of the Phase 1 Contract A from the USDA project and to proceed with that project separately at the August 1st 2023 Township Board Meeting. 
  • This will include the 7th St. and West Main portions of the Sanitary Sewer Expansion project. 
  • Lounsbury Excavating was awarded the contract for the newly separated project and plans to begin work September 18th. 
  • Public meetings to review the project and ask questions are being scheduled. Letters will be mailed to residents in the project area with additional information.  
Previous Updates



Connection Fees and Expansion Costs


 First, it is important to understand all the components of the connections and use consistent terminology:

Public Connection Fee: portion from sewer main in the road to the Right-of-Way/property line

  • Benefit Fee: $2,000.00 for single-family homes (1 benefit unit)

There would be more benefit units for different and larger users

  • Parcel Fee: Each parcel, regardless of size or use, pays the same $5,500.00 – this is equitable for larger parcels that may have smaller frontage, every parcel is the same fee.

Private Connection Fee: portion from Right-of-Way/property line to where sewer exits the home (and currently leads towards septic tank)

  • Recommend contacting local excavating contractors for quotePrivate-sewer.png
  • Costs will verify depending on
    • Location in front or back of house or distance from road
    • Patios, decks, pools, fences, sheds to construct around
    • Tree removal, ask contractor if trees can be avoided


Utility Bill: Bill from City of Kalamazoo, owner and operator of Wastewater treatment plant and contracted with Township for Operation and Maintenance of system

  • Like receiving quarterly bill for Water that covers availability and usage (see current rate sheet) payment goes directly to City
    • Flat fee based on water meter size for service availability
    • Metered Fee based on usage
  • Includes Surcharge (OSH – SURCHARGE – SEWER)

Surcharges: Charge by Township for their ownership of system, administration, capital improvements, etc. Surcharges can increase for capital improvements, inflation, or emergencies

  • Currently 16% surcharge on sanitary sewer bills for Oshtemo Residents using public sewer
  • Surcharge rates will vary over the 40-year USDA loan, averaging 13.3% or $4.29 per month on average for typical single-family home, for both Phase I and II of expansion project. Some months will be higher, and some will be lower. 


My home is already connected to public sewer and I receive a quarterly bill from the City of Kalamazoo:

  • Your connection fees are already paid
  • Your taxes are not increased as a result of the bond
  • The debt service paid (listed as OSH – SURCHARGE – SEWER on your current bill) would on average, over the 40 year life of USDA loan, increase approximately $4.29/mo (13.3%) for typical single family home with both Phase I and II sewer expansions
  • General Fund road dollars will be used on your road at some point, just as they will be used in the sewer expansion neighborhoods
  • Your road will be maintained by the Township and the Road Commission as needed

I am buying a home or building on a lot in a new development in Oshtemo Township where sewer is available:

  • The developer, and in turn the new homeowner, pay the connection fees just like the fees in the sewer expansion neighborhoods, at the current year rate table
  • You will begin service and pay a sewer bill at City of Kalamazoo rates with Oshtemo surcharge (currently 2% and increases 13.3% on average, over the 40-year life of USDA loan) with both Phase I and II sewer expansion
  • Your taxes would not increase as a result of the bond
  • You pay for the cost of the new road in front of your house through the cost of your lot/development
  • Your road will be maintained by the Township and the Road Commission as needed

I live in a neighborhood where sewer would be expanded:

  • Your sewer costs would be as follows:
    • Public Connection Fees for USDA Expansion properties will be $7,500
    • $3000 – $6000 average for private connection *assuming typical home with septic in front yard
    • $34.92/mo (for private 15-year financing @ 4.5% for $4500)
    • You may have options to apply for financial support from USDA, State of Michigan and Oshtemo Township assistance programs
    • Your deteriorated road will be reconstructed when the sewer is built with contribution of General Funds as is used on all roads in the Township

I am buying a home or building on a lot in a new development in Oshtemo Township where sewer is not available:

  • Your home will require construction of a septic system
  • $15,000 cost estimate would be paid to your builder for septic system
  • You do not pay a bill to the City of Kalamazoo
  • Your taxes would not increase as a result of the bond
  • You pay for the cost of the new road in front of your house through the cost of your lot/development
  • Your road will be maintained by the Township and the Road Commission as needed

 I live in a neighborhood or area on an existing private septic system and there is no planned sewer currently:

  • Your cost to periodically replace your septic system in an emergency will be ~$15,000. Costs will vary; $15,000 is a conservative average.
  • Your monthly cost if you finance the septic replacement is $116.30/mo (private 15-year financing at 4.5% interest)
  • Your cost to properly maintain your septic system is ~$300/every 3 years 


USDA Rural Development Loan

The application for the USDA Rural Development loan(PDF, 25MB)  for Phase I has been accepted by the USDA.  USDA provided conditional approval of the Phase I loan for 40 years at 2.375% interest rate.  If the rate is lower at the time of closing, the Township will receive the lower rate. To close the Phase I loan, Oshtemo must complete the engineering design of the sewer system, receive USDA approval to proceed to contract bidding, receive bids, and select a contractor.  That process will establish the amount of the loan.  The notional schedule for Phase I is as follows:

  • Receive contractor bids and award contract –March/April 2023
  • Receive detailed construction schedule from contractor – May/June 2023
  • Construct sewer in Phase I areas – Fall 2023 through Fall 2024

The Phase II loan application has been accepted by the USDA. Final design of Phase II is in progress and easement negotiations are beginning to take place. 

In preparation for Phase I of the project, Oshtemo Township had been hosting neighborhood focused community meetings. The informational packet being distributed during those meetings can be found here: Community Meeting Informational Packet(PDF, 3MB)


Proposed Expansion FAQ

Expansion Goals

  • There are several reasons why Oshtemo chose to pursue this project and they all relate back to improving the health, safety, and welfare of the community. This project was undertaken to protect public health and environmental stewardship through the closure of aging and failing private, on-site septic systems. Many properties within the township are on their third or fourth septic system. This is a serious concern since new septic systems and replacement of failed drainfields are expensive. The cost to replace a septic system can range from $10,000 to $35,000 or more. Several properties within the township possess small configurated lots. This creates a health and safety concern when lots are not large enough to situate a septic system with new drainfields/drywells. Additionally, mature trees and other landscaping often need to be removed to install a septic system and drainfields.

Septic system studies

  • The Kalamazoo County Environmental Health Department states that more than half of existing septic systems in the township are below standards and not up to current health code requirements and are in failing condition. All of the township’s water is sourced (either public water or private wells) from groundwater. Aging septic systems create health hazards to the township’s source of water (groundwater) by being contaminated with nitrates from human waste. Consequently, there can be serious health issues associated from this cross contamination.
  • Many people do not keep their septic system well-maintained. Some residents have not pumped out their septic system in more than 30-40 years. A well-maintained system should be pumped every 3 to 5 years. Additionally, Michigan is the only state in the nation which does not have an inspection program for on-site sewage treatment systems. This means the Kalamazoo County Environmental Health Department only inspects at time of installation and not on a regular schedule. The only time the County conducts an inspection after installation is when a failed septic system results in sewage seeping to the surface. Not all septic system failures result in visual, surface exposure, yet allow sewage and household chemicals to migrate into groundwater. With no inspection process in place, there is no way for the Township to resolve the issue because no one knows it is taking place.

Sewer vs Septic System Treatments

  • A wastewater treatment plant, through mechanical aerobic and activated carbon filtering processes, removes nitrates, phosphorus, and other compounds, releasing 95-98% better water. Even brand new septic systems only improve wastewater by 30-40%.

Timing for the Expansion

  • Oshtemo’s population is near 23,000 and rapid growth continues. The Township is making efforts to manage current/future growth and development as sanitary sewer systems become more of a necessity. Sewer projects require years to complete and are expensive. The Township is preparing for additional growth as well as preventing a health crisis, and taking advantage of unprecedented low bond rates. To address these reasons, the Township must act now.

Expansion Locations

  • map of the sewer projects which are part of the current loan application is available on the Township website. These projects are identified in the pre-application project list and represent about 60% of the sewer extensions needed in the Township.  As a growing community, additional sanitary sewer system needs have been identified in the Township’s Capital Improvements Plan in subsequent years.









Capital Infrastructure Planning

Capital Improvements Committee

The committee’s charge is to coordinate and fund capital improvement projects which make the best use of limited public dollars. Annually the Capital Improvement Committee (CIC) will develop a list of capital expenditures for the township, in the form of a Capital Improvement Plan and forward it to the Township Board for adoption.

2023 Meeting Minutes and Agendas

2022 Meeting Minutes and Agendas

  • January 18
  • February 15
  • May 16
  • June 20
  • August 16
  • September 20
  • October 18


2019 Meeting Minutes and Agendas


2017 Meeting Minutes and Agendas