Construction on a water system project is under way in the Village of Northport.
The Village received a 2-1/2% Drinking Water Revolving Fund loan for $790,000 through the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to help pay for the work. A portion of the cost will be paid through the DEQ’s Green Project principal forgiveness which will not need to be repaid.
Fleis & VandenBrink helped the Village secure the low interest DEQ loan and Green Project Reserve assistance and also designed the project.
The improvement plan includes the replacement of an old well that was built in 1933. A new well house and water main improvements will also be completed. The water main work is expected to be done within the next couple of months and the well and well house sometime this summer.
“The state commended us on being pre-emptive on this whole water project,” said Chris Holton, Northport’s Department of Public Works superintendent and former village trustee who was a big supporter of the project when it the council approved back in 2013.
Holton said the Village is also replacing three sections of watermains, including one small two-inch section of pipe on Mill Street (M-201) between Seventh and Eighth streets that was constructed in the late 1960s. Two other sections on Rose Street, between Second and Third streets, and between Fourth and Fifth streets.
The Rose Street main was installed in 1934 and repaired in 1988. The Village had been experiencing water leaks.
“We did some patch and repair works, but replacing the mains were long overdue,” Holton said. “It was a ticking time bomb so to speak and if we get through this without any major eruptions, we’ll be in good shape.”
Northport trustee Phil Mikesell, who chaired the water committee when the project was approved, was excited to see the work start.
“For a guy who’s not previously been involved in such a big project, it’s fascinating to see the pieces begin to come into place,” Mikesell said. “The other day I stopped by the corner of Rose and Second and I was fascinated to see the paper plan fitting (literally) into the ground. I could devote a good part of my day to being a sidewalk superintendent!”
Mikesell said the project will benefit the community greatly.
“When we’re done we’ll have a more secure and serviceable water system,” Mikesell said. “We all take water pretty much for granted.
“But an 80-year-old well and 50-plus year old and way undersized water mains raised the odds that one day the village would find itself in the unhappy situation of one day facing a ‘must do’ project. I think that we’re on a prudent course.”
Kal Excavating employees, Andrew Jelinek, in front, and Jack Squires grab onto a new 8-inch water pipe that is being lowered by an excavator along Rose Street, just south of Third Street, in the Village of Northport as part of a $790,000 water improvement project.