City council approves $2.45 million expenditure on final well for GAWA

By Ralph Echtinaw

Progress continues on construction of the seventh and final Arcada Township well for the Gratiot Area Water Authority that supplies water to St. Louis and Alma.

City council approved payment of $2.45 million to Isabella Corporation of Mt. Pleasant for construction of Well 12 along with 3,750 feet of 12-inch water main from the well house to an existing 16-inch water main near Luce and Riverview.

That’s not the total cost though. The city has also paid $7,270, $10,928, $174,600 and $286,000 to the Fishbeck engineering firm for its part in the project.

Not to worry though, as the federal government is picking up the tab. “The St. Louis Water Supply Replacement Project is funded by the combination of the settlement the city received at the beginning of this project and the cooperative agreement with the US EPA,” said City Manager Kurt Giles via email.

One other firm bid on the job (J.R. Heineman & Sons of Saginaw) but came in high at $2.476 million.

Giles said it will be mid August before piping material can be acquired. Hopefully the job will during the fall season and the well will be producing late this year or early next year.

Trash hauling

The city’s new trash hauler expects to send a mailing to homeowners before April 1 explaining the new service and possibly give residents a chance to opt out of recycling.

Granger takes over from Republic on May 1, and there will be two big changes. Homeowners will be issued 96-gallon wheeled bins; one for trash and one for recyclables. Trash will continue to be picked up weekly, but recyclables will be picked up every other week.

Residents will have the opportunity to opt out of recycling if they don’t want the extra bin or don’t care to recycle. Delivery of bins will commence on April 4.

Calling all bins

If you don’t want to keep your 18-gallon recycling bin, Republic would like to have it. “We’re not certain yet but expect there will be instructions given as to a date when unwanted bins may be left out for collection,” Giles said. “We want to be clear that customers do not need to return the bins if they would like to keep them for future use.”

New leaf vacuum

Council approved purchase of a 20-yard Spartan leaf vacuum from Bell Equipment of Lake Orion for $104,350. One other bid came in from Xtreme Vac of Cleveland, Ohio ($151,228). The Spartan will replace a 32-year-old leaf vacuum the city bought used 15 years ago. Giles hopes to have the Spartan machine in service this fall.

New fire trucks

Council approved the efforts of six Gratiot County fire chiefs, including Bill Coty of the St. Louis Area Fire Department, to ask the county commission for $1.2 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds. The plan is for each fire department to get $200,000 for the purchase of new fire engines. Coty told council that most Gratiot County fire departments have engines that are more than 25 years old and in need of being replaced. St. Louis is among those departments with a 1996 fire engine. The price of these things is around $400,000 and rising fast with inflation, Coty said. And it takes two to three years to get a fire engine after ordering it. Alma 1993. Ithaca 1998. Ashley 1985. St. Louis 1996. Fire engine price up $20,000 in last five months. 

The county has already dispersed $3.5 million of the $7.9 million in ARPA funds the county will receive over two years. There is $584,000 left to spend from the first allotment and $3.9 million that the county will get at a later date.

Wastewater treatment plant

Council approved purchase of a UV Water System from Hach of Loveland, Colorado ($9,338) for the wastewater treatment plant lab. “The unit supplies UV-treated ultra pure water in the lab for use in sample dilution and the preparation of chemical solutions used in lab testing equipment,” said Public Services Director Keith Risdon.

Council approved purchase of five replacement valves for wastewater treatment plant from Val-Matic Valves of Elmhurst, Illinois ($5,185). “These plug valves are part of the overall replacement program which staff have been performing for the past few years. Annually we are replacing a portion of the older valves,” Risdon said.

M46 water main project

Council formally accepted a $500,000 grant from the county (more ARPA funds) to help pay for a 

$1.2-million water main replacement project on M46 between Watson and Clinton.

Bids were solicited Tuesday for construction. Work should get going later this year.

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