Later this year, attentive travelers may spot one or more of 50 new sewer covers along county roads.
Mandy Chu, a Troy Athens High School senior, won the county’s first Preserve MI Waters’ stormwater manhole cover art contest debuted the year by Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash.
In addition to her art being produced on 50 sewer covers by Michigan-based EJ, formerly known as East Jordan Iron Works, Chu received a $1,000 scholarship from Pure Oakland Water, a non-profit Nash runs, which uses public education to advance clean-water stewardship.
Chu received her honors at the April 14 county commissioners meeting.
“We were looking for the most-beautiful piece of work that would fit into our theme,” Nash said. “Our theme is keeping pollution out of our storm drains, protecting our wildlife, and promoting recreational activities.”
The contest started Feb. 2 and ran through March 2. Nash said he was surprised at the number of entries.
Chu’s design, selected from 74 entries, features a simple but evocative line drawing of a mallard, fluttering its wings as it rises from water near a cluster of cattails. She said she was “so honored” to win the contest.
“Right now, environmental conservation is incredibly important,” said Chu, “I’m excited to share a design that highlights Oakland’s beautiful wildlife and waters, and hopefully highlights the importance of protecting them, as well.”
Nash said the contest idea started during a conversation last year with board chairman Dave Woodward, D-Royal Oak, and Commissioner Gwen Markham, D-Novi.
Nash reminded those present that Oakland County has more lakes than any county in the state, which are important to the economy. He said the new sewer covers are one way to demonstrate that Oakland County cares about the environment.
Among suggestions from commissioners as Chu posed for photos with Nash, Woodward and Markham, was to create lapel pins based on the design, or produce extra covers that people could purchase.
The WRC showcased all 74 entries online at: https://bit.ly/3vlbuTr.