PONTIAC (WWJ) – Oakland County Commissioners has given a bipartisan approval to the articles of incorporation for the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) Wednesday night.

Oakland County ratepayers will now have a seat at the table of the region’s water and sewer system.

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The vote was 18 to 2 in favor of it.

“We think that it will be the beginning steps to improving the entire system, its reliability, and its sustainability. Hopefully, we can do some investments in the system and save it from it’s aged infrastructure. And at the same time keep a better handle on the increase and rates and costs and expenses,” said Chief Deputy County Executive Gerald Poisson.

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The new water authority will operate and manage all wholesale water and sewer lines in the suburbs that are currently part of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

“You take an institution that’s been subject to 37 straight years of lawsuits and litigation … more than a couple unfortunate instances of outright corruption and theft and so to start the new day – you have the three counties, or at least two of three counties the counties, and the city coming together at this point to start a new approach, a cooperative approach, and we think that’s pretty historic,” said Poisson.

The City of Detroit will become a wholesale customer of the authority like the suburbs.

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Macomb County’s Board of Commissioners takes up the matter Thursday.