2013-10-16 / News

Imlay City eyes water options

BY PHIL FOLEY
810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com

IMLAY CITY — A new source of water is inching its way toward Lapeer and Genesee County and before it gets there, the Imlay City Commission will have to make a decision on whether to stick with the Detroit Water and Sewerage Dept, (DWSD) which has provided the city’s drinking water since 1971 or jump on board with newly formed Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA).

KWA, which broke ground in June on a $274-million water pipeline from Lake Huron to Genesee County, promises communities that tap into its line more control over the costs and the water. However, Imlay City interim City Manager Dennis Collison told city commissioners at their meeting Oct. 1 that while both DWSD and KWA have made a lot of promises, “nobody’s put anything in writing.”

Doug Skylis, an engineer with Rowe Engineering, presented commissioners with four possible options. Two involve tapping into the KWA line, which will run along Clear Lake Road, the border between Goodland and Burnside townships north of the city. Both of those options would cost city water users an additional $3.53-million for the construction of a water treatment plant since the KWA line will pump raw water from Lake Huron.

Skylis said his firm estimates the cost of running a water line from the KWA line on Clear Lake Road down Blacks Corners Road to Bowers Road at $12.28 million. Running the line from Clear Lake Road down M-53 would cost the city roughly $14.56 million.

He noted that while the Blacks Corners Road option would cost $2.28 million less, mainly due to Blacks Corners being a gravel road, the M-53 option would increase the number of potential customers the line could serve.

Even though Imlay Township is a member of the Greater Lapeer County Utilities Authority and installed a water line for Champion Bus on Graham Road in 2010, Ed Priehs, the city’s DPW director, noted the city has provided water to several township residents along Imlay City Road for years.

Skylis presented two options for hooking into the Imlay Township tap on Graham Road. One would follow Graham Road out to Capac Road and then follow Capac Road to M-53 at an estimated cost of $5.2 million.

The second option, which would cost roughly $4.42 million, would follow the Canadian National Railroad right-of-way from Graham Road into the city. Although slightly more than three-quarters of a million dollars cheaper, Skylis noted it would offer the city virtually no new water customers since it runs through mostly vacant agricultural land.

The Imlay City Commission has yet to set a deadline to make a decision. KWA officials have said they expect to complete the project by 2015.

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