The City of Croswell received $1 million in Community Project Funding for Drinking Water Quality Improvements last week.
Congresswoman Lisa McClain, who represents Michigan’s 10th district which includes the City of Croswell, was in town late last week discussing the project and funding requirements with city officials and consultant Fleis & VandenBrink of Midland.
“Every person should have access to safe drinking water, and that wasn’t the case in Croswell,” McClain said. “This water improvement project will help fix the infrastructure so that community members can once again have access to clean water.”
For the first time in years, the House Appropriations Committee accepted Community Project Funding requests in 2021 for Fiscal Year 2022. The initiative allows members of Congress, like McClain, to target federal funds towards projects and programs in their respective congressional districts that address the most significant needs facing the communities they represent.
Each legislator was allowed to request funding for up to 10 projects in their community for Fiscal Year 2022. Projects were restricted to a limited number of federal funding streams, and only state and local governments and eligible non-profit entities were permitted to receive funding.
The money can only be used to replace inadequate water mains in Croswell with new mains constructed of modern acceptable materials.
“Failing infrastructure is always out of sight, out of mind,” said David Tait, Croswell’s city administrator. “But when it effects residents and water quality and service ability, it’s time to fix the problems.
“We are very thankful for this funding. It’s been a team effort.”
“We’re excited to assist the city in replacing undersized, four-inch main that are cast iron that are causing poor water quality, poor pressure and breaks in the line,” said Gary Bartow, F&V’s East Michigan Group manager. “This money is going to improve service leads from the main to the property lines and solve water reliability issues.”
The city, which has aging undersized water main in service for over 75 years, plans to replace water mains considered a high priority.
Those lines are starting to corrode and produce unsafe drinking water for residents. The city’s Water Department has been completing prescriptive measures from State of Michigan water staff and is starting to reach an impasse in formulating a quick-fix plan to increase water quality.
“The lines we’ll be replacing first are a train-wreck, with a lot of rust and iron deposits,” said Greg Alexander, the City’s Utility and Community Development director. “t’s not a four-inch pipe anymore. It’s a two-and-a-half inch with sediment. The water flowed through, but it was restricted.
“Our city’s aged-out infrastructure has reared its ugly head. With new mains being installed and proper maintenance going forward, we will protect the health safety and welfare of all of our city residents.”
City officials have been dealing with the water quality issue for years.
“Whenever we get surges in water and high usage in certain areas, it just turns the system upside down,” Alexander noted. “As we continue to replace water mains, we’re getting less and less sediment disturbance.”
The funding is coming from the Environmental Protection Agency. City officials and engineers are planning to discuss the project the EPA’s regional officer soon.
The project is expected to begin this fall and completed in the summer of 2023. The improvements will eliminate contamination caused by breaks or leaks and improve water pressure to safe levels.
“We’ll start with the higher priority lines until the money runs out and see how far we get,” Tait added. “And then we’ll have to come up with a game plan to attack the rest.
“If we can get this infrastructure rebuilt and replaced, we’ll be good for another 50-60 years!”