Esky seeks funds for sewer line project

ESCANABA – Escanaba plans to seek up to $1 million from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to inventory and assess the condition of the city’s sanitary and storm sewer system.

Administration was granted permission to apply for the state grant at Thursday’sEscanaba City Council meeting. The city would be required to provide 10 percent in matching funds.

City Engineer/Public Works Superintendent Bill Farrell explained the MDEQ grant would pay for an inventory of the city’s more-than-70 miles of sanitary and storm sewer pipes, assess the conditions of the pipes, and include them in the city’s geographic information system.

“It’s a huge undertaking for the city. We’re looking at it to be a three-year project,” Farrell told council, adding, “It’s going to be a huge tool for both departments.”

The process will include digital images of most of the city’s sanitary and storm sewer pipe systems, enabling the city to be aware of potential problem areas before either system fails, said Farrell.

He also noted when a maintenance problem arises, a computer model can be run to determine which solution best solves the problem before the actual work begins.

Water/Wastewater Superintendent Jeff Lampi said, if the grant is awarded, the project would result in a working assets management plan for the departments. Such a plan will be an upcoming state requirement to evaluate the facilities and equipment, he said.

City Manager Jim O’Toole noted the inventory of the sanitary and sewer systems will assist in the city’s capital improvement plans down the road.

Council approved hiring C2AE, Inc., of Escanaba, to write and submit the grant at a cost not to exceed $5,000.

C2AE Business Development Manager Randy Scott informed council the inventory and assessment of the sanitary and storm sewer pipes will enable the city to prioritize maintenance of the systems for 20 to 30 years “down the pipe.”