Clare hopes to get funding for two new water wells

July 5, 2018

By Pat Maurer

During his regular report to the Commission, City Manager Ken Hibl noted Monday evening that the City staff would be looking into a USDA – Rural Development financing for new City wells.

Hibl said, “The City of Clare’s approved 2018/2019 Capital Improvement Plan includes significant, long-overdue improvements to the City’s water treatment plant and the replacement of one of the City’s older, poorest-producing water wells.”

“As part of the process to commence the needed improvements,” he continued, “the City Staff hosted a meeting with its two engineering firms…including Williams & Works for the new water well and Gourdie-Fraser as the lead engineer for the water transmission lines from the well to the treatment plant and the improvements to the plant; a representative from the United States Department of Agriculture-Rural Development (USDA-RD) to discuss loan and grant funding options and opportunities; and representatives of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to discuss mandatory permitting and testing requirements for the project.”

Hibl said during the discussions the DEQ reps “suggested” the City consider replacing two more of the water wells because they are located in an Environmental Protections Agency (EPA) designated superfund site.

He said, “These two wells are the backbone of the City’s current water system in respect to production and presently meet all national and state criteria for public use and drinking water quality.”

Hibl said the DEQ advised that “water quality standards and testing criteria for public drinking water are being changed – especially in the areas of lead and copper.”
Those coming changes could “adversely impact” the City’s continued use of the two public water wells in the future.

He continued, “And based on the recent lead contamination in the public water system in Flint, the City should anticipate that the MDEQ could or would likely issue the City a formal recommendation and/or cautionary note suggesting that the City replace these two other wells as a part of this project when the City makes it formal applications for permits for the project.”

Hibl reported that during the meeting, the City Staff shared its concerns that the significant cost of replacing these two additional wells could potentially increase the cost of the estimated $1M project in its current scope to as much as $3M, dependent upon the location of the two additional replacement wells, and render the project realistically unaffordable.

After continued discussion with the parties at the meeting, the City Staff concluded that the City should request “USDA-RD funding for the project to include the potential cost of the two wells to increase the probability that the project could qualify for grant funding and to ensure that USDA-RD funds could be reserved in the City’s name in the event that it was determined the two additional wells need to be replaced.”

Hibl said the City Staff anticipates that they will be in a position to submit the funding application to USDA-RD in August 2018.

He concluded, “The Staff presently intends to recommend that the City Commission approve the application, to include the cost of the two additional wells. The City’s engineering firms will provide us total project cost estimates that will include replacing the two wells within the next few weeks.”

In another matter Monday evening, the Commission approved a proposal for engineering services by Williams & Works to replace the well of George Shull, which is “downstream” from the migrating contamination plume from the Hatton Township Landfill.

Commissioner Jean McConnell questioned the nearly $5,000 cost of the engineering and oversight of the construction of a new water well for Shull.

Hibl said the engineering and oversight is necessary because of regulations from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and protection from possible litigation.

Hibl also reported that the new recreation complex at the south side of the City has been named the Emerald Isle Recreational Complex. Hibl said there had been 62 names submitted for the park.

In other business Monday evening:
*The Commission approved an Installment agreement with Mercantile Bank for the Act 99 financing for a new street sweeper. The sweeper will cost $215,000. and be financed through the bank. The purchase was approved at the last meeting.

*The board approved the slate of officers for the Worker’s Compensation Fund Trustees election. The two-year candidates approved are former City Clerk and now Spring Lake Village Manager Christine Burns, Saline City Manager Todd Campbell and Auburn City Mayor Lee Kilbourn.

*An increase in the employee longevity stipend to include $150 for 35 years of service and $200 for 40 years.
*The board approved bills totaling $163,889.50.

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