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Snow plow truck needs $5,132 repair

By Ralph Echtinaw

One of St. Louis’ fleet of International dump trucks has been taken to Saginaw for a $5,132 repair.

The International 7400 SBA 4×2 was delivered five years and six months ago. 

“It’s been dropping antifreeze every day,” DPW Superintendent Mark Abbott told city council Tuesday.

Abbott explained the problem in greater detail via email: “The antifreeze level was dropping in the radiator. It is kind of complicated to describe, but the exhaust gas recirculation system takes pollutant rich exhaust gasses and recirculates them into the engine cylinders to ‘reburn’ them. In that process the gasses go through a ‘cooler’ that takes some of the heat from the exhaust gas and puts it into the antifreeze to then go to the radiator so the heat can be lost to the atmosphere there. That way the engine does not get too hot in the cylinders. There are gaskets and parts in that system that can breakdown and leak coolant into the engine and then out the exhaust stack. It is not something I felt we could handle well in house, and I felt it best done by the dealer.”

The question was whether to take the truck to Janson Equipment in Breckenridge or Weiland Truck Center in Saginaw for repair.

Abbott recommended Weiland for the job because it has “more experienced mechanics that deal with International trucks daily, and the parts will come from Weiland’s even if Janson Equipment did the repair.”

Besides, Janson’s bid of $4,333 did not include “further diagnostic time,” so Abbott concluded that the final price would be more in line with Weiland’s price.

“Weiland has it on the fast track as they know we need it,” Abbott said. “It does affect operations because we run plow trucks in pairs. The first truck plows the center of the road over to the curb side and the second truck cleans it up and pushes the snow off the road onto the right of way.  We can still plow, just not as efficiently.”

The truck was delivered to Weiland Truck Center Wednesday.

Adieu Melissa Allen

Melissa Allen, who served many years on the city council ending in December 2019 but kept her seats on the Parks & Recreation board and Gratiot Area Water Authority, has resigned from those two posts on account of moving out of town. 

“Life has a funny way of bringing about change, even when one is not looking for it,” She wrote in her resignation letter.

“I must thank you for the opportunity to serve in this role for, who knows, how many years. 20+ years, I am suspecting,” Allen continued. “During my tenure, I had the chance to work with some fantastic people, both city staff and committee members. I appreciate the opportunity the city has even me to serve and will forever be changed for the better by those I was surrounded by.

“I hope our lives will continue crossing paths as we will remain nearby. Eric and I will continue serving our community through our service at Century21 Lee-Mac Realty.”

City council accepted Allen’s resignations Tuesday and appointed Councilman Bill Leonard to the vacant seat on the Gratiot Area Water Authority. The Parks & Recreation slot remains vacant. Contact city hall if you’d like to be considered for the vacancy.

State Street reconstruction

Councilmen approved Rowe Professional Services ($99,000) for construction phase engineering services on State Street reconstruction.

Bids are expected to be sought on April 2 for the total reconstruction of State Street between Michigan Avenue and South Main. That means removing the existing road surface and doing a lot of sewer and water work before a new road is installed. The contract should be awarded by mid May.

Construction should begin on or after June 7. The road should be open to traffic by August 20. The job should be done by Oct. 1.

Well abandonment

Now that the last of the new wells St. Louis had to create for the Gratiot Area Water Authority has been authorized, the city turns to plugging six old wells that were taken out of service over concerns with leaking pollutants from the Velsicol site.

Councilmen approved a $70,700 contract with Fishbeck of Grand Rapids to do the design and engineering work for the well project.

In all, 22 wells are scheduled for abandonment. These include five city water wells, one mineral well, one test well and 15 observation/monitoring wells.

The main wells are located in Clapp Park (1), near the Electric Generating Station on Mill Street (2), east of Nikkari Elementary on State Street (1), east of Carrie Knause Elementary off I & K Street (1) and West of the DPW Garage near the corner of Prospect and Union (1).

Work to be done on wells near the Electric Generating Station and the DPW Garage includes removal of well pumps and well houses, abandonment of the wells by a certified well driller, removal of the well casing to four feet below grade, removal of the well house base slabs and abandonment of the pipe leading from the wells to the distribution system in place by capping and filling with flowable fill.

The Clapp Park well house will be retained and converted into a concession stand. The well house near Nikkari Elementary will be spared, too.

Categories: Uncategorized

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