Bay City Commission discusses water system upgrades
BAY CITY, Mich. (WNEM) - The Bay City Commission discussed the possibility of $41 million to upgrade the city’s century-old water system, but some residents are worried this will raise the price of their water bill.
“Knowing the age of the system, we’ve extended it beyond the design life. The lead and copper. We’ve come up with a list of projects the city can consider for funding,” said Steve Warren with OHM Advisors.
The Bay City Commission held a special meeting Monday evening, May 22 to discuss four potential projects to upgrade the city’s drinking water system. The meeting was part of the application process for Michigan’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program, which could provide a low-interest loan from the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.
“Our infrastructure is well over 100 years old. So, whatever monies we can get to replace or refurbish now is, the more the better,” said Bay City Water Manager Marty Jurish.
City commissioners and residents discussed four projects that would replace water mains along Smith Street from Henry to Paterson, rehab the system along State Park Drive from Lauria to Wilder Roads that is used to control corrosion of metal surfaces, and replace 2,500 lead service lines over a five year period.
“We’re doing the best that we can with the monies that we have. Fortunately, my department’s received some ARPA money for it, and we have crews out every day replacing them. So I’d like to think that Bay City as a whole is doing a good job replacing those lead lines,” Jurish said.
Some of the projects drew questions and concerns.
“State Park Drive is not within the city basic at all. And whenever it comes up, no one ever asks the question, ‘Are those customers along State Park Drive one, paying the city for their water bill? And two, is Bangor Township which owns the road, paying anything for this project?’” one resident said.
Jurish explained more than 120 residents in Bangor Township pay their water bill to the city and will share in the cost of the projects, which could cost each household at most $36 per month over 20 years.
“The city is not locked into doing this. They’re trying to get to see what kind of grant money is available and you don’t know until you apply,” Warren said. “So, we want to apply; we want to get that number cut down quite a bit.”
The commission should find out whether they are approved for the loan grant by August, then they will vote on whether to accept or walk away from it. If the commission accepts the proposal, the work could begin next year.
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